Date: 11th March 2015 at 4:10am
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Daley Blind’s bipolar performances in the holding midfield role at Old Trafford have forced Louis van Gaal to look at competition for his Dutch compatriot in the form of Lars Bender.

Another reason for Manchester United’s interest is that their number one target, Kevin Strootman, has suffered yet another injury setback that should keep him out for the reason of the season.

The German international has been in good form for Bayer Leverkusen over the last few seasons which is why Arsene Wenger has also been keeping tabs on the player.

Bender provides his club and country with a quality anchor man who can both defend well and get forward when the team is on top, something United have been lacking since Owen Hargreaves was released.

He does, however, come with a considerable injury history as he has spent 264 days on the physio’s table in the last five years.

His performances have helped Leverkusen to within just two points of Champions League qualification behind third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach but his club could be open to selling the 25-year-old.

His Germany teammate, Christoph Kramer, has been on loan at Gladbach this season and has turned in some fantastic performances to catapult them above his parent club in the Bundesliga so Leverkusen will look to slot Kramer into the first team setup when he returns in the summer.

This leaves the door open for United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich to speak with £20m-rated Bender but his contract is due to run until the end of 2019 so they may be required to pay substantially more than his market value.