Arsenal dealt hammer blow in pursuit of ‘next Sergio Busquets’ as £60m star plays down exit talk
Arsenal have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi, with the player reaffirming his commitment to the Spanish club.
Mikel Arteta is thought to be a big admirer of the 24-year-old, but the player’s recent comments are to be believed, he may have to look elsewhere for a new midfielder.
Zubminendi does have a €60m (approx. £52.5m) release clause in his contract, though, so if Arsenal can convince him to ditch LaLiga for the Premier League, there is still a small chance a deal could happen.
As previously reported by TEAMtalk, the Gunners see the Sociedad midfielder as the ideal alternative to Moises Caicedo, after they saw a £70m bid rejected for the Brighton star in January.
Indeed, with the Ecuadorian recently penning a new contract with the Seagulls, his price tag is now believed to be in the region of £90m, causing Arsenal to switch their attention to Zubimendi.
This season, the defensive midfielder has been one of Sociedad’s star performers, so it’s no surprise to see the Premier League leaders interested in his signature.
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Zubimendi anticipates a ‘quiet summer’
Back in January, it was reported that Zubimendi rejected the chance to join Arsenal. Now, the midfield maestro has insisted that it would have been “illogical” to exit the Spanish outfit mid-season.
“Rumours, rumours, because I told my agent that I didn’t want to hear anything, especially in winter,” Zubimendi told Spanish outlet Sport, via Football365.
“Leaving Real Sociedad aside with the season we are having would be illogical. I am very happy here.”
The focus of the interview then switched to Zubminendi’s future beyond the current campaign. When asked about his plans for this summer’s transfer window, he added: “I look forward to a quiet summer. Like the rest.”
Last year, Zubimendi signed a new contract which runs until 2027 and as mentioned, it is believed that this deal includes a €60m release clause.
“Beyond the clause, when someone wants to be in a club, the clause doesn’t matter,” Zubimendi continued.
“I think it is a balanced clause with all the aspects that the contract brought together. Nothing more than that.”
Barcelona are also thought to be big admirers of Zubimendi, with manager Xavi publicly praising the midfielder on several occasions.
“If someone like Xavi mentions my name it makes me happy,” Zubimendi admitted.
He is also pleased to be compared with Barcelona star Sergio Busquets: “If you compare any player to Busquets, they already lost. He is the best.
“We play in the same position, but we are very different. Busquets is a reference player, and he will continue to be one for a long time.”
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