Published On: Sun, Jan 28th, 2024
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Arsenal now ‘in pole position’ for £52m star despite Barcelona and Man Utd U-turn | Football | Sport

Arsenal remain in pole position to sign Martin Zubimendi in the summer transfer window despite Barcelona and Manchester United rejoining the race to sign the Spanish midfielder, reports claim. Zubimendi has shone for Real Sociedad in recent years and reportedly accepted an offer from the Gunners ahead of the season.

The 24-year-old is one of the most highly-rated defensive midfielders in European football. Several top teams have long been linked with the player, a product of Basque outfit Sociedad’s famed academy.

Arsenal want to strengthen their defensive midfield ranks despite the summer addition of Declan Rice from West Ham. Thomas Partey could depart this summer, opening a squad place for Zubimendi to join.

Mikel Arteta will reportedly face strong competition for Zubimendi. It is claimed that Barca and Premier League rivals United have U-turned on their previous decision to move on from the Spain international.

According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, speaking to Give Me Sport, Arsenal remain in ‘pole position’ to sign Zubimendi. However, a deal in the winter window is reportedly impossible due to the star’s hopes of featuring in his side’s Champions League knockout tie against Paris Saint-Germain.

The report says that Zubimendi has a £52m (€60m) release clause inserted into his Sociedad contract. That will be an enticing fee for Europe’s biggest clubs come the summer transfer window.

Arsenal are unlikely to complete any more business in the remainder of January, despite links with Zubimendi and a new striker. Arteta says the Gunners will complete the season with the same players they had in the first half of the campaign.

Leaving a deal for Zubimendi until the summer will likely be risky, though, prompting other clubs to move in and hijack a deal. Premier League rivals United are known to want to improve their midfield ranks.

Casemiro is likely to depart in the summer, while there is uncertainty over whether Sofyan Amrabat’s loan will be made permanent. The Moroccan has not impressed at Old Trafford as much as many might have expected after his World Cup heroics.

Spanish giants Barca have also been linked with Zubimendi. Although it remains to be seen if the cash-strapped Catalans have the finances to compete for the star’s signature with Arsenal, United and Bayern Munich, who are also reported to be interested in a deal.

Zubimendi has a contract until 2027, giving Sociedad some power in negotiations. Clubs will likely need to meet the player’s £52m release clause to stand any chance of striking a deal.

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