According to fresh reports, Arsenal could face competition from FC Barcelona in their pursuit of Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi in the upcoming summer transfer window. The Gunners are reportedly leading the race for the Spanish midfielder.
Manager Mikel Arteta wants to bolster his midfield by providing more competition to Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, and Martin Odegaard. Zubimendi just extended his contract until 2027 in October, with a €60 million release clause in his contract.
Although the Londoners recently signed Jorginho to replace the injured Mohamed Elneny, they are still seeking to bring in a young top-notch midfielder. Brighton & Hove Albions’ Moises Caicedo is a priority target for the Gunners while the Sociedad player also remains on their radar.
According to Football London, Arsenal are set to receive stiff competition from Barcelona for the signature of Martin Zubimendi in the summer. Both the teams have turned their attention towards improving their central midfield ranks and have identified the 24-year-old as the perfect candidate.
Previously in January, Real Sociedad informed potential buyers that any interested parties would need to pay the Spanish midfielder’s £52.8 million release clause for a deal to take place. The Gunners were reportedly willing to pay the release clause for the player, but he declined to leave his childhood club in the middle of the season.
Now, as reported by Sport (via The Sun), Arsenal are in pole position to sign Martin Zubimendi in the summer, despite facing an uphill battle against Barcelona. The Spanish news outlet reports that there will be a high demand for the Real Sociedad player in the summer window.
🚨 Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta wants to sign Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi this summer.
(Source: @sport) pic.twitter.com/9VhFfvnnGa
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) February 16, 2023
The Catalans have expressed interest in the 24-year-old, but there may be obstacles to signing him as Sergio Busquets, who plays a similar role, is expected to extend his contract with the club. Additionally, the Spanish side are facing financial difficulties.
Martin Zubimendi, a native of San Sebastian, made his debut for Real Sociedad in 2019 and has since made 124 appearances for the club (stats via Transfermarkt). He was coached in the Real Sociedad ‘B’ team by the renowned Xabi Alonso, with whom he has been compared. In his first season with the senior team, he maintained an impressive 91% pass completion rate, which he has continued to uphold in subsequent seasons.
The 24-year-old has been a key player for the Basque club this season, making 26 appearances with four goal contributions (G+A) so far as the club currently sits third in La Liga. He is also a senior Spanish international with experience at various youth levels, from Under-19 to Under-23.
He works in tandem with players like David Silva and Mikel Merino to dictate the pace of the game, using precise short passes and inch-perfect through balls to keep the ball moving. Zubimendi’s role is to connect the defence and the midfield and he excels at distributing the ball quickly.
💙💎🤍 Un 𝗗𝗜𝗔𝗠𝗔𝗡𝗧𝗘 '𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗟'.
🎈 ¡Muchas felicidades, @MartinZubimendi! 🎈#LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/nmRw4q0q8T
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) February 2, 2023
Because of his technical ability, the central midfielder can also play as a number six in the base of the midfield formation, providing an outlet in tight spaces and acting as a spare man for teams that prioritise building from the back.
He can switch the play with his deft passing or carry the ball himself out of defence. He is also highly skilled at reading the game and covers for centre-backs when they are out of position. During the attacking phase, he lingers near the final third to prevent counter-attacks and ensures that any loose balls are driven back into the opponent’s penalty area.
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It appears that Arsenal’s summer transfer window will be hectic, with significant support expected for Mikel Arteta following their remarkable 2022/23 season. The club have gone through a difficult period, but Arteta has been given time to prove his worth and their persistence has now paid off, as they sit atop the Premier League standings.
The 24-year-old is a standout player in La Liga with the potential to make similar impact as that of Xabi Alonso during the latter’s time at Liverpool. Martin Zubimendi has drawn attention from Arsenal and Barcelona amongst other top European clubs due to his well-rounded skills. He has exceptional vision and passing ability, and a calm and measured approach when facing opposition defences.
Real Sociedad will be eager to keep him in the team with a secure contract as he continues to progress. With his consistent performances, he is likely to attract serious interest from many Champions League clubs in the next transfer window.
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