Manchester United are ready to make a move to sign Martin Zubimedi after a report claimed Erik ten Hag has stuck the midfielder right at the top of his wishlist.
The Red Devils boss is busy making plans for the January transfer window which opens in just 28 days time. Having spent around £216m over the summer, United will again back Ten Hag with cash as he looks to further transform the club. And the Dutchman will hope another influx of talent can help the club secure a top-four finish this season.
United have several positions they want to strengthen with a right-back and a goalkeeper on their list of targets. They also want to strengthen in attack with Cody Gakpo a top priority following the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo. The disdain the Portuguese star has for the club has become even clearer after another revelation from Piers Morgan.
However, according to AS, the first signing of the winter window could well be Real Sociedad midfielder Zubimendi.
The 23-year-old is currently enjoying an outstanding season with Sociedad, who sit third in LaLiga. He was first mentioned as a Manchester United target last month, with the player twice playing against United in the Europa League.
And it seems he has done enough to impress Ten Hag, too, with the report claiming he will look to trigger the £51.3m (€60m) exit clause in his deal.
Zubimendi can play as a No 6 or as a No 8 – and his flexibility has reportedly caught Ten Hag’s eye. Now AS claims the United boss wants to move for the star in January in an effort to beat Barcelona to his services.
United interest in Martin Zubimendi confirmed
The reports also follows confirmation from TEAMtalk last week that Zubimendi is a target for Ten Hag.
Our transfer expert Graeme Bailey revealed he was on their radar ahead of the January window. And while Sociedad do not want to sell, they could be forced to sell him if his release clause is triggered.
“Real Sociedad are one of the better team to watch in Spain, and they have a huge amount of depth – particularly in midfield,” Bailey told TEAMtalk. “The Basque duo Martin Zubimendi and Mikel Merino are outstanding, alongside summer signing Brais Mendez.
“Head coach Imanol Alguacil has David Silva pulling the strings in the team, but Zubimendi, Merino and Mendez are the core trio and have been terrific. I know all three have been attracting major attention.
“And it is not surprise to hear one of those is Manchester United – those three players played against United [in the Europa League].
“From what I am told, Zubimendi is the one who is attracting the most interest. The 23-year-old has already made his debut for Spain, and is now making a big name for himself.”
Bailey added: “I understand Sociedad are not entertaining letting anyone go in January. They want to seal a Champions League finish and they sold Alexander Isak for a good chunk of money in the summer, so do not have a huge need to sell.”
Marcus Thuram offer also expected
As well as Gakpo, United are reportedly looking to boost their attack with the signing of Marcus Thuram.
The Borussia Monchengladbach has appeared twice at the Qatar World Cup, stepping off the bench twice for reigning world champions France.
But with his deal at Gladbach due to expire in the summer, the striker finds himself a man in demand.
Indeed, with 13 goal involvements in 15 Bundesliga games this season, it’s easy to see why.
His side do not want to lose him on a free, so will reportedly consider offers for his services in January.
One side looking to take advantage of his impending free agent status are Bayern Munich. And Sport Mediaset claim they have offered Thuram a five-year deal to make the move across Germany.
However, United are also reportedly keen on Thuram. And reports state they could look to pip Bayern by submitting an offer to sign him in January.
Monchengladbach are reportedly open to his sale for a fee of around £12m. That price has several sides keen, including Tottenham, Aston Villa and Inter.
But it seems Bayern and United are the two sides leading the race to secure his signature.