Premier League • England

Mikel Arteta shows Arsenal door to £80m duo he signed as move accelerates for brilliant LaLiga man

Mikel Arteta, Martin Zubimendi

Martin Zubimendi remains a top target for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is ready to make some tough decisions with his Gunners squad this summer to further close the gap on Manchester City, with the club ready to listen to offers for Oleksandr Zinchenko, while also gaining in hope they can sign an excellent LaLiga star.

The Gunners enjoyed another season of real progress in the campaign just gone, finishing as runners-up to Man City for the second year in a row, though this time taking that title fight down to the final day of the season. Arsenal also reached the Champions League quarter-finals, where they narrowly lost out to Bayern Munich, illustrating that while they can compete at that level, it’s only the narrowest of margins that prevented them going any further.

Regardless of how the season had panned out, Arteta ultimately knew he still has holes to fix in his squad with some obvious areas of weakness to attend to this summer. To that end, we understand the Gunners are to prioritise three positions this summer in the form of a new left-sided defender, a midfielder and a more reliable goalscorer to lead their attack.

A new goalkeeper to compete with David Raya could also be sought if Aaron Ramsdale manages to get his desired move away from Emirates Stadium.

GO DEEPER 👉 Four glaring areas Arsenal must upgrade to get on Real Madrid and Bayern Munich’s level

In terms of Grade A incomings, though, Arteta has drawn up a list of top targets following a series of discussions with sporting director Edu.

And while there is money to spend, the club will also be wary of the Premier League’s strict new Financial Fair Play regulations which will prevent Arsenal spending beyond their means.

Arsenal transfers: Arteta to shove out his own two signings

While Arsenal have been extremely well run in recent years, they will allow a few departures too over the summer window to further help with their own recruitment plans.

In that regards, TEAMtalk exclusively revealed back in March that striker Eddie Nketiah is being made available for transfer this summer to help fund a move for a new No 9.

The Gunners will hope to raise around £30m to £35m for Nketiah, who is being courted by Crystal Palace, Wolves and Ipswich this summer.

And with Ramsdale likely to command a fee of £25m – the England goalkeeper was bizarrely linked with a move to Liverpool over the weekend – the names of two other likely sales have now come to light.

To that end, it will come as little surprise if the Gunners let midfielder Thomas Partey move on this summer. While Arteta has often stressed his importance to the cause, the fact he only made 16 appearances in the season just gone, together with the fact that his deal is due to expire in summer 2025, makes the 30-year-old a strong candidate to move on.

To that end, TEAMtalk understands they will listen to offers for the former Atletico Madrid man, whom Arteta paid £45m for back in October 2020.

Now reports claim another Arteta signing in Zinchenko also looks like a candidate to leave this summer, with the player having fallen down the pecking order behind both Jakub Kiwior and Takehiro Tomiyasu as a left-back option.

Arsenal paid Man City an initial £30m, rising to £32m, to sign the Ukraine star in summer 2022 and he has been a regular in Arteta’s matchday squads, featuring 68 times and scoring twice.

Arsenal to use funds to sign a new midfielder

However, the Gunners will not stand in his way if they receive a suitable offer, with Bayern Munich among the sides taking a look at the 27-year-old.

Exits for Partey, Zinchenko, Ramsdale and Nketiah alone could raise around £100m alone – money that Arteta will swiftly hope to reinvest in his squad, with a new striker and midfielder very much top of his wishlist.

Landing a classy partner to play alongside Declan Rice in the centre of midfield could be a game-changer for Arsenal and Arteta is now gaining in confidence that a deal for Martin Zubimendi can be done.

DON’T MISS 🔴⚪ The world-class XI Arsenal could field next season if Arteta lands top midfield, striker targets

The 25-year-old has established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in LaLiga with Real Sociedad, whom he has a €60m (£52.3m) exit clause with.

Having had a taste of UCL football this season, Zubimendi wants to take his game to the next level by playing regularly in the competition.

And while Barcelona are also admirers, they are not in a position to meet his exit clause, leaving Arsenal as the clear frontrunners in that chase.

Arsenal are also looking at the likes of Douglas Luiz, but for the £80m-plus fee quoted, Zubimendi is now firmly on their radar as their No 1 choice. And if they trigger his release clause, Sociedad will be powerless to prevent their star midfielder’s exit.