Man Utd to hijack Arsenal move as cheeky offer drawn up; ‘prime’ Ratcliffe target ignored

Mikel Arteta, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Martin Zubimendi and Takefusa Kubo

Arsenal and Man Utd could fight for a classy La Liga star

Arsenal will have to fight off Manchester United if they are to hand Mikel Arteta his dream midfield solution in Martin Zubimendi, according to reports.

One of Arsenal’s current defensive midfielders, Thomas Partey, is edging closer to a lucrative transfer to the Saudi Pro League. Sources have confirmed to TEAMtalk that PIF chiefs want to start contract negotiations with the Ghanaian, whose Arsenal deal expires in June 2025.

With Partey having spent large periods of the 2023-24 season out injured, Arsenal boss Arteta has been aware for some time that he needs a top-quality new No 6 to join his squad.

Arteta has long been watching Real Sociedad enforcer Zubimendi and would love to bring him to the Premier League.

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It was claimed earlier this year that Zubimendi is holding out for a transfer to either Barcelona or Real Madrid, but Arsenal’s swoop for him appears to be back on.

Manchester City have also been linked with the Spain star, but it emerged on Friday that Arsenal are looking to sign him first.

According to the latest reports emerging from Spain, though, Man Utd are plotting a sensational move to stun Arsenal and win the race for Zubimendi.

Man Utd part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has drawn up a €45million (£38m) offer, which will soon be sent to Sociedad. That is a cheeky proposal however, as the La Liga outfit are understood to want Zubimendi’s full €60m (£51m) release clause before letting him leave.

Man Utd transfers: Ratcliffe eyes top Arsenal target

It is clear that Man Utd’s opening bid for Zubimendi will likely fail, as it does not get close to Sociedad’s asking price. But Ratcliffe joining the hunt for the 25-year-old will force Arsenal to step up their pursuit, as otherwise they risk seeing him move to Old Trafford if Man Utd improve their bid.

The reports add that Man Utd’s ‘prime target’ from Sociedad has previously been winger Takefusa Kubo, who finished the most recent season with a record of seven goals and five assists in 41 games.

But Ratcliffe is ready to snub Kubo and instead chase Zubimendi as he tries to find a long-term midfield partner for Kobbie Mainoo.

Kubo, meanwhile, is picking up serious interest from Arsenal’s local rivals Tottenham Hotspur. On Thursday, it was claimed that Ange Postecoglou’s side had submitted a €50m (£42m) bid for the Japan attacker.

Sociedad could fall down the Spanish top flight next season as Zubimendi and Kubo might be followed out of the club by defender Robin Le Normand. Atletico Madrid are in negotiations with Sociedad over a possible deal for the 27-year-old centre-back.

Sociedad finished sixth during the 2023-24 season but may have to cope without some of their most talented players next term.

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