SALIBA'S REPLACEMENT: Mikel Arteta asks Arsenal chiefs to sign Real Sociedad’s key man this summer

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has reportedly asked the Gunners to make an attempt to sign Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi in the summer transfer window.


The Gunners tried to strengthen their midfield in January by submitting £60m and £70m bids for Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo.

The Seagulls subsequently rejected both offers, and Arsenal turned their focus to signing Jorginho from London rivals Chelsea.

Despite adding the Italy international to their ranks, the Gunners are still keen to bolster their midfield during the summer transfer window.

West Ham United’s Declan Rice has reportedly been identified as their primary target, but Arteta also wants to sign Zubimendi from Real Sociedad.

According to Sport, the Arsenal manager has urged the Gunners to make an effort to recruit the 24-year-old.

Zubimendi has risen through the youth ranks at the Basque club, where he has gone on to make 124 appearances for the first team, contributing four goals and five assists.

Having started 19 of the club’s 21 league games this season, the midfielder has been a key figure in a Real Sociedad side that currently sit in third place in the La Liga table.

Barcelona are also interested in Zubimendi, as they view him as a potential replacement for Sergio Busquets who is out of contract at the end of the season.

The Catalan giants are waiting for Busquets to decide whether he wants to sign an extension with the club or move on to fresh pastures amid interest from MLS side Inter Miami.

Barcelona’s current financial situation could make it difficult for them to compete with Arsenal for Zubimendi, who has a contract until June 2027.

Real Sociedad are reluctant to accept anything less than his release clause, which is believed to be around €60m (£53m).

Meanwhile, on the pitch, Arsenal were replaced at the top of the Premier League table by Man City after they were beaten 3-1 by Pep Guardiola’s side on Wednesday.

Having failed to win their last four matches in all competitions, Arsenal will be looking to return to winning ways when they face Aston Villa on Saturday.

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