Arsenal target ‘very close’ to ‘accepting an offer’ to become Mikel Arteta’s first summer signing

Highly-rated Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi is ‘very close’ to accepting an offer to join Arsenal, according to reports in Spain.

The 24-year-old Spaniard has been very impressive for Sociedad since stepping up to their first team in 2020.

Able to play as a deep-lying midfielder but also a bit further up in midfield, Zubimendi is quite rightly attracting interest from a host of top European clubs.

Barcelona are reportedly very interested in signing the player but are lacking the funds required to sign him from their La Liga rivals.

It is believed that Zubimendi has a release clause worth around €60million (£52.5m) – which is a very respectable fee in today’s market.

Prior to the January signing of Jorginho, the last time Arsenal invested in this position they also delved into the Spanish market, signing Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid for a reported £45m in October 2020.

The Gunners have been strongly linked with Zubimendi for quite some time now and with a new midfielder on the agenda ahead of the summer transfer window, the links are not going away.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is said to be the Premier League club’s number one target, though they are also being linked with Brighton’s Moises Caicedo – who they tried to sign for £70m in the winter window.

There were some rumours that Arsenal wanted Zubimendi in January, but the player made it clear his wish was to see out the season with Real Sociedad.

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Speaking in March, the 24-year-old insisted he is prepared for a “quiet summer” and is “very happy” where he is.

However, a report from Spanish outlet AS says he is ‘very close’ to joining Arsenal this summer.

The report focuses on Barcelona’s pursuit of Sofyan Amrabat, but Zubimendi gets a quick mention amid the Blaugrana’s interest in him.

And the brief paragraph is enough to get Arsenal fans excited.

It is stated that Zubimendi is ‘ruled out’ as a target for Barca as he is ‘very close to accepting an offer to play next season’ at The Emirates.

Amrabat – who has been linked with Liverpool and Tottenham in the past – is not a target for the Gunners.

Caicedo got a mention a little bit earlier, and another report from Football Insider has stated that Mikel Arteta’s side are still ‘monitoring’ the Brighton youngster.

While Zubimendi would be a solid signing and is expected to cost substantially less than Caicedo, the latter would be an outstanding acquisition.

The Ecuadorian international already has plenty of Premier League experience and has shown that he has the potential to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.

His ability to shield his defence and begin his side’s attacks is everything a manager would want from someone playing in his position and we should expect big things from Arsenal next season if they pull off the signings of Caicedo and Declan Rice.

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