Mikel Arteta has instructed Arsenal to sign Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi at the end of the season, according to reports.
It is believed that the 24-year-old is keen to join the Premier League leaders, despite turning down an offer from the Gunners in January, as he wanted to finish his campaign in Spain first.
Real Sociedad have informed Arsenal that they must pay Zubimendi’s €60m (£52.6m) release clause if they want to sign him this summer.
The Gunners have been in tremendous form this season, winning 16 of their 21 league matches so far and as a result, are currently three points clear at the top of the table.
This represents a huge opportunity to clinch their first title since 2004, but they still have plenty of work to do to get over the line – starting with a crucial clash against Manchester City on Wednesday.
Their form has been thanks to some excellent performances by midfielders such as Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, but with both already 30, Arteta is keen to add some more long-term reinforcements in that area.
With that in mind, Zubimendi would be an excellent option, after showing his quality in LaLiga.
According to Spanish outlet Sport, Arteta has personally asked Arsenal’s hierarchy to bring in the midfielder in the summer.
Arteta’s career has similarities to Zubimendi’s
Interestingly, Zubimendi could end up having a very similar career path to Arteta, who joined Everton from Sociedad in 2005, before signing for Arsenal six years later.
Arteta certainly flourished in the Premier League, so he will be hoping that his transfer target can do the same.
Barcelona are also reportedly keen to sign Zubminedi, but it is believed that he wants to challenge himself in the Premier League.
He initially came through Real Sociedad’s academy, before solidifying his place in the starting XI in the 2020/21 campaign.
This season, Zubminedi has made 26 appearances for Sociedad across all competitions, scoring one goal and making two assists.
However, he is not the only midfield target that Arsenal are looking at, after being heavily linked with moves for Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice.
The problem with these two targets is that they are likely to cost even more than Zubimendi.
Brighton turned down a £70m bid for Caicedo last month, and Hammers boss David Moyes claimed it would take a ‘record’ fee to take Rice away from the London stadium.
The Gunners signed three players in the January window – Leandro Trossard, Jakub Kiwior and Jorginho. While the latter is a midfield option, he, like Xhaka and Partey, isn’t a long-term option.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if the Gunners do meet Zubimendi’s release clause and bring him to the Emirates next season.