Premier League • England

Arsenal ready to trigger hefty clause to sign midfielder as Euro 2024 star makes transfer choice clear

Arsenal on leading the race to sign Real Sociedad and Spain midfielder Martin Zubimendi

Arsenal on leading the race to sign Real Sociedad and Spain midfielder Martin Zubimendi

Arsenal have made it clear to Real Sociedad that they plan to trigger the clause needed to sign Martin Zubimendi this summer – but their prospects of sealing his transfer are far from certain amid claims Edu must overcome two major hurdles to get a transfer over the line.

The Gunners are looking to make further squad improvements having come close to ending Manchester City’s domination of the Premier League in the season just gone. However, while they did take the title fight down to the last day, they were unable to loosen Pep Guardiola’s vice-like grip on the trophy, which will remain at the Etihad for a fourth straight season.

Nonetheless, Arsenal hope they can go one step better next time around and have identified a number of improvements they can make to their squad.

And TEAMtalk understands that the Gunners are looking to make three major signings to strengthen their squad this summer, with a new left-sided defender, a midfield partner for Declan Rice and a top-quality No 9 all on their radar.

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As far as a new striker goes, the Gunners are believed to have locked their focus on to prolific Napoli frontman Victor Osimhen, amid reports they will launch a cheeky opening offer for his services.

And while it is unlikely Napoli will accept that first proposal, the prospective move to Emirates Stadium has been backed with four reasons cited why Osimhen to Arsenal makes perfect sense.

A deal for a new midfielder will also not come cheap for Arsenal, but at least with regards long-term target Zubimendi, Edu and Co know exactly how much a deal for the Spain star would set them back.

Arsenal transfers: Two problems emerge in Zubimendi hunt

Having watched the player for well over two seasons now, Arsenal are finally set to make a move for the seven-times capped Spain midfielder.

And having looked into a potential deal for the 25-year-old last summer, before prioritising the £105m swoop for Rice, the Gunners are finally set to make their move with reports in Spain claiming Edu has been in contact with Sociedad to make clear their plans to trigger the exit clause in his deal.

That sits at an enticing €60m (£50.6m) – a fee well within Arsenal’s reach.

However, the Gunners are unlikely to have things all their own way in pursuit of the player and two hurdles have emerged before they can get a deal over the line.

Firstly, reports in Spain claim Zubimendi would far rather delay any move while Spain’s Euro 2024 campaign is ongoing.

Luis de la Fuente’s side opened their campaign with a promising 3-0 win over Croatia on Saturday and next face Italy in a tasty Group B match on Thursday evening that will likely determine which of the pair finishes as group winners.

Furthermore, it’s also revealed Zubimendi wants to wait to see if either of his top-two choices in Real Madrid or Barcelona will launch a counter-offer for his services this summer.

And with the player currently prefering to remain in Spain, Edu will face a nervy wait to see if a deal for Zubimendi will get over the line.

Gunners target makes transfer plans clear as he tips cap to Man City star

Confirming his plans to shelve any transfer discussions for now, Zubimendi has made his intentions perfectly clear.

“I mainly look for the benefit of the national team, I am not thinking about what I can win in this European Championship,” he said.

“All my energy is focused on the group, on winning it, and the individual will be a consequence of all this that will come later. I’m not thinking about this now.”

Zubimendi stepped off the bench in Saturday’s game against Croatia and he knows he faces a selection battle with Manchester City Rodri – a player he feels is currently the best in the world – for a place in the side.

“I am aware of where I am, where I come from, what players I have ahead of me,” Zubimendi added.

“What is up to me and what is in my hands is to prepare as best as possible and when it is my turn to be at 100 per cent.

“I have assumed my role quite well. Rodri is the best in the world in his position.

“A European Championship is not about focusing on individual things. I have to contribute everything I can from wherever I am and do everything I can to do it. When I can contribute, do it to the best of my ability.”

A move to the Premier League could potentially take Zubimendi’s game on to the next level and at the same time provide Arsenal with a brilliant new midfield partnership with Rice.

Equally, the player would clearly find a move to Spain’s big guns hard to resist, with the duo having shared 63 LaLiga crowns between them in the 93-year history of the competition.