Arsenal have reportedly seen an approach rejected for a classy midfielder that Erik ten Hag also has on his list of Manchester United transfer targets.
The Gunners are desperate to add a new midfielder this month after finally landing a new forward. And following their disappointment of missing out on Mykhaylo Mudryk, Arsenal on Friday confirmed the signing of Leandro Trossard from Brighton.
Having registered seven goals and two assists from 16 Premier League games this season, Mikel Arteta has the additional attacking threat he craves.
But with another pivotal day looming in the title race, Arsenal want one more addition to maximise their prospects. As it stands, Arteta’s side sit five points clear at the summit. And with Arsenal hosting Manchester United and Man City at home to Wolves, that gap could either be reduced to two points or extended to eight, depending on how results go.
Having brought in a new winger, Arteta next wants to add another midfielder to his ranks. The likes of Youri Tielemans, Adrien Rabiot and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have been mentioned as possible targets.
However, for various reasons, that trio appear unlikely to sign, with one of their targets’ wage demands leaving Edu flabbergasted.
Declan Rice has is another possible, albeit ambitious target, though any deal would have to wait for the summer.
As a stop-gap, Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga has reportedly been earmarked as a potential loan target.
Indeed, reports in Spain claim Arteta and Edu’s attention is very much on LaLiga. And one of the best midfield stars in the competition this season is now reportedly on their radar.
And the subject of their attention, per Cadena Ser, is Real Sociedad star Martin Zubimendi.
Arsenal make move to sign Martin Zubimendi
The 23-year-old has been an absolute rock in the heart of the Basque side’s engine room this season.
The defensive midfielder has appeared in 17 of Sociedad’s 18 matches in LaLiga this season. And his impressive displays are a big reason why Sociedad have established themselves as title contenders alongside Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Indeed, as things stand, Imanol Alguacil’s side are just three points adrift of leaders Barca, having played twice more.
But their form this season has convinced many that they are realistic title contenders.
As such, it’s now surprise to see Zubimendi attract attention. And with a £52.7m (€60m) exit clause in his deal, he is an attractive option for plenty of big-money suitors.
Indeed, Zubimendi is also reportedly a major target for Manchester United. Indeed, our exclusive back in November revealed Erik ten Hag is a huge fan of the star and is keen to lure him to Old Trafford.
However, per Cadena Ser, it is Arsenal who have made the first official move. Per the report, they have made contact with Sociedad to inform them of their desire to trigger Zubimendi’s exit clause.
That has allowed them permission to make official contact with the 23-year-old to discuss a potential move.
But, according to the report, Zubimendi has left Edu and Arteta disappointed by rejecting the chance to move mid-season.
Gunners face strong competition
While the chance of playing in the Premier League entices him, he was unwilling to ditch Sociedad mid-season.
That seems understandable too, given the player’s loyalties to the club. He was born in the city where the team plays, San Sebastian. Furthermore, he can write himself in club legend if he were to help the club win the LaLiga crown.
The club only have two LaLiga crowns in their history; the back-to-back successes they enjoyed in 1980/81 and 81/82.
And the chance to end that 41-year wait is enough of a reason to convince Zubimendi to stay.
That will ensure Zubimendi stays where he is for now.
However, come the summer, the one-time capped Spain international will find himself a man in demand once again. As well as Arsenal, there is also strong interest from Barcelona. Indeed, reports in Catalonia claim he has moved ahead of Ruben Neves as Xavi’s No 1 midfield target this summer.
But the strongest interest may yet come from Manchester United. The player is reportedly seen as a major upgrade on both Scott McTominay and Fred as Ten Hag plots to further enhance his Red Devils squad.