Barcelona ‘set’ to rival Arsenal’s move for £52m man
Arsenal and Barcelona could be involved in a battle for a highly-rated La Liga midfielder.
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Arsenal are expected to be active in the winter window and central midfield is reportedly a priority position to strengthen for Mikel Arteta. Gunners star Thomas Partey has missed large parts of the season with injury and is not expected to return until January at the earliest before immediately jetting off to the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana.
Partey was an integral part of the Arsenal setup last season, but his days at the club appear to be numbered, according to reports from Sky Sports News who state that Juventus are the frontrunners to sign the midfielder.
Such news is likely to prompt Arteta to sign a replacement and one of the names at the top of his list is believed to be Spanish international Martin Zubimendi of Real Sociedad, according to football.london. Zubimendi is a highly-rated midfielder who has been a regular member of the Real Sociedad team since his breakthrough campaign in 2019/20.
The 24-year-old has been a near ever present in a Sociedad team that has recorded three consecutive top six finishes, the highest of which came last season when they finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League. Zubimendi is in contention to represent Spain at next summer’s European Championships and has already won three international caps in a highly competitive midfield.
Real Soceidad have performed admirably in the Champions League this season and currently find themselves top of the group with three victories and a draw from their opening four games. Zubimendi has played in all four games in the tournament and his composure and consistency has caught the eye of Mikel Arteta.
Sky Sports has previously revealed that the player has a release clause of £52.8m in his contract, which the Gunners may look to meet in the summer. However, new reports from ES Sport add that Barcelona manager Xavi is a huge fan of the player who has many of the qualities to fill the void of Sergio Busquets. The outlet adds that Bayern Munich are also monitoring the player’s availability, particularly after a failed move for Joao Palhinha at the end of last season.