Manchester United would be wise to snap up Dortmund's Sven Bender this summer. His intelligence on the field, paired with his technical ability allows him to boss the middle of the field with minimal fuss. Now who does that sound like?
Say what you want about the expected demise of the Premier League but the English topflight has produced some of the most outstanding central midfielders in football history. With the likes of Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard all preparing for when they hang their boots up, however, eyes are turning to a certain German who has been pulling strings in the Bundesliga since 2009.
Sven Bender is the man I refer to, and he the continued rumours about him leaving his homeland are expected to pick up during the close season.
Sven and his twin brother Lars linked up with local side TSV Brannenburg when they were just four years of age and continued to learn their trade up until the age of 10 when they both jumped ship to SpVgg Unterhaching. They would spend the next four years preparing for life as professional footballers until, aged 14, the Bender brothers were snapped up by 2.Bundesliga outfit 1860 Munich. This is where they would really make a name for themselves as promising youngsters. Sven was soon singled out as the brother with more ability and went on to make 69 appearances for Die Lowen, with Lars making 64, but the two would soon part ways in search of a career in the German topflight.
Sven signed with Borussia Dortmund and Lars with Bayer Leverkusen in 2009, and they remain two of the most prominent defensive midfilders in the country.
Sven has struggled to sustain a real starting place in Dortmund's midfield this campaign as a result of numerous injuries, ranging from hernias to groin strains, and some pinpoint the club's poor showing in the league solely down to his absence.
He has appeared in 17 of BVB's domestic games in total this season and is yet to find the net. One of Bender's major strengths is his positional sense, shown by his 77% of his 70 attempted tackles won, 11/12 of his attempted take-ons being successful and 60% of his 40 headed duels being won.
Bender does not intimidate with his physical presence but his willingness to close opponents down at every opportunity, combined with the home colours of Borussia Dortmund, has seen him compared with a tireless wasp.
You can be certain that Bender is planning his moves one step ahead of whoever he is tracking and will do everything in his power to limit the opponent's time, space and confidence on the ball, making him a torrid player to play against.
Bender has the knack of making his role look ridiculous easy. His intelligence on the field, paired with his technical ability allows him to boss the middle of the field with minimal fuss.
In an attempt to quash the transfer rumours in January, Bender signed a new four-year deal with the Black and Yellows. However, you know as well as I do contracts mean little more than an increased transfer fee in modern day football, and should a Premier League side be ready to make a serious offer for the Germany international, it would have to be just that - a Serious offer. Bender is reportedly valued at around £15m by Dortmund but on a long term deal English clubs can expect to stump up a lot more than that.
Bender is still only 24, so the money would be well worth paying, in my opinion. However, his brother Lars has started stealing the headlines as Bayer Leverkusen continue to pick up pace and has also been linked with a move to England. Either one of the siblings would be a healthy investment, especially if they manage to sustain full fitness, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of Europe's elite try to snatch them from Germany.
Who knows, come next season we may have a couple of Benders in the Premier League.