With Granit Xhaka likely to leave Arsenal this summer, the Gunners have a need for a defensive midfielder of note to be able to slot into their midfield and improve upon the work that the Swiss has done for the club over the past few seasons.
That’s easier said than done when you consider what a great servant Xhaka has been for the north Londoners, though there are a few candidates that Mikel Arteta is running the rule over it seems.
West Ham’s Declan Rice seems to be the most obvious candidate at present, but there is no guarantee that Arsenal would be able to afford a fee of £120m straight or £100m + a player (per Sky Sports).
One player that’s likely to come in at around half that figure is Real Sociedad’s 24-year-old star, Martin Zubimendi.
However, the Gunners could encounter a significant problem in trying to prise the player from the Basque outfit; FC Barcelona.
It isn’t clear at this point whether La Real would even be interested in cashing in on the player and, even if they were, whether he would entertain the prospect of moving on.
Were his €60m buyout clause (per The Athletic – subscription required) to be met, however, there could at least be a discussion to be had.
The Catalan outfit could well be willing to scupper and deal to Arsenal after Xavi spoke in glowing terms about the player in his pre-match press conference for the match against Real Socidead.
Xavi confirms: “I consider Zubimendi as an an extraordinary pivot, top player — he understands the game very well, he dominates with and without the ball”. ??? #FCB
“Zubimendi plays kind of football that we like here at Barça, it’s our style”. pic.twitter.com/jSeMjbFFtE
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 19, 2023
“I consider Zubimendi as an an extraordinary pivot, top player — he understands the game very well, he dominates with and without the ball,” he was quoted as saying by Fabrizio Romano on his official Twitter account.
“Zubimendi plays kind of football that we like here at Barca, it’s our style”.
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