Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd links to Sociedad midfielder confirmed – but Newcastle deal dents Ten Hag chances of transfer

Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad during the La Liga match between Girona FC and Real Sociedad played at Montilivi Stadium

Erik ten Hag has a concrete interest in Martin Zubimendi, though Manchester United’s prospects of prising him from Real Sociedad in January do not look great, TEAMtalk can reveal.

The United manager was allowed to spend well over £200m during phase one of his squad rebuild over the summer. The early signs though have been good, with prominent wins over Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham underlining their progress. There remains issues of consistency to iron out, though, with costly defeats to Brentford, Brighton and Aston Villa harming their top-four hopes.

Nonetheless, Ten Hag is preparing plans to further strengthen his squad. To that end, he is looking for a new striker in the January window after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure recently. Indeed, the Portuguese star is seemingly nearing his next move amid a breathtaking contract offer.

His exit gives United quite a lot more financial freedom. His monthly wages were costing the club £2m, freeing up plenty of green for squad additions.

As a result, the club are reportedly preparing an offer for a new attacker which could shatter the club’s transfer record.

Ten Hag is also in the market for a new right-back. TEAMtalk revealed earlier this week that Aaron Wan-Bissaka will depart in January with two Premier League sides battling for his services.

Perhaps less pressingly, Ten Hag is also in the market for a new midfielder too. Interest in Frenkie de Jong continues to linger, though the United manager does have other irons in the fire.

One of those includes Real Sociedad’s 23-year-old midfielder Zubimendi.

He is enjoying an outstanding season for the Basque side, who currently sit third in the table.

Man Utd links to Martin Zubimendi confirmed

The midfielder has a clause in his deal that allows him to leave in the January window for £56m (€65m). And while that is more than United were hoping to pay, their prospects of a lesser deal look unlikely.

Either way, TEAMtalk’s transfer expert Graeme Bailey can confirm that Zubimendi is a player that Ten Hag admires.

“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.”

However, United’s prospects of a January deal appear bleak. And it appears that the summer sale of Alexader Isak to Newcastle looks partially to blame.

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.”

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