Arsenal are ‘very close’ to confirming Real Sociedad star Martin Zubimendi as their first summer signing, according to reports.
Mikel Arteta is already eyeing improvements to his Gunners squad ahead of next season, as he looks to cement his team’s spot at the top of the Premier League.
Zubimendi has caught the attention of several top European clubs thanks to his fine form in LaLiga. Now, it seems Arsenal have won the race for his signature.
Arteta has overseen a major improvement over the last 12 months. Indeed, after narrowly missing out on the top four last term, the Gunners are still in the title race.
Claiming the Premier League title may prove to be a step too far. But, Arteta will want to ensure his team are competing for it again next season.
As mentioned, signing a quality midfielder is thought to be one of the manager’s summer priorities. The likes of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey have been in excellent form, but with both arguably past their peak, they could do with some more long-term options.
Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo, along with West Ham captain Declan Rice have been heavily linked with Arsenal, for example.
However, it now seems Zubimendi will be the first signing through the door when the transfer market opens.
Arsenal ‘close’ to sealing Zubimendi deal
According to Spanish outlet AS, Zubimendi is ‘very close’ to accepting an offer from Arsenal. They note that Barcelona have also registered an interest in the 24-year-old, but he would reportedly prefer a switch to the Emirates.
This season, the Spain international has made 31 league appearances for Sociedad. In the process, he has scored one goal and made two assists.
Generally operating as a defensive midfielder, Zubimendi’s best attributes are his passing range and ability to break up opposition attacks.
This term, he has an impressive pass success rate of 84.8%. He also averages 1.7 tackles and 1 successful interception per match.
As previously reported by TEAMtalk, Arsenal were first linked with Zubminedi in January, but he was not keen on leaving Sociedad in the middle of the season.
The Spanish club are currently on track for an impressive fourth-place finish. So, Zubimendi has to take a lot of the credit for that, too.
While personal terms are close to being agreed, Arsenal still have to meet Sociedad’s price tag for the midfielder.
AS do not mention that fee in their report but Zubimendi has a £52.5m release clause in his contract.
The only question is whether Arsenal will pay that fee, or if they will try and negotiate a cheaper deal.