Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi is very close to accepting an offer to play for Arsenal next season, according to Spanish publication AS.
The Spain international was on the Gunners radar during the January transfer window but he was reluctant to leave Sociedad due to their Champions League pursuit.
It is now reported by AS that Barcelona are no longer in contention to sign Zubimendi and the 24-year-old is ‘very close’ to accepting a proposal to play for the Gunners.
The midfielder has a €60 million release clause in his contract but the Gunners could propose to sign him via a long-term payment plan rather than paying the fee up front.
Arsenal could return for Zubimendi this summer
Zubimendi is a defensive midfielder by trade. The Spaniard has been almost ever-present in La Liga this term, only missing games through yellow card suspensions.
Thomas Partey is currently the regular in the number six role but the Gunners need to look into the future. The Ghanaian will be 30 at the beginning of the 2023/24 campaign.
They need a young competitor and future successor. Zubimendi could be the answer, judging by reports in the Spanish media.
This season, the midfielder has completed 85 per cent of his passes in La Liga. He has won nearly two tackles and five duels per game. The Spaniard likes to win aerial challenges.
Zubimendi has the physical attributes to succeed in the Premier League but it remains to be seen whether he is Arteta’s top midfield target heading into the summer.
The Gunners have also been linked with Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo. If Arsenal are eyeing two midfield additions, the duo are better options than Zubimendi.
Ultimately, the decision depends on Arteta’s preference. The manager shares the same representative as Zubimendi, which could boost Arsenal’s prospects of landing him.