Mikel Arteta ‘willing to rip up’ golden Arsenal transfer rule for Euro 2024 star

Mikel Merino of Spain celebrates with his teammates Rodri and Ferran Torres after scoring their team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 quarter-final match between Spain and Germany
-Credit: (Image: Alex Caparros - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Spain midfielder Mikel Merino will reportedly force Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to ditch the usual club transfer policy this summer.

The Gunners traditionally prioritise younger signings in a bid to maximise value, recruiting players either to develop themselves or lessen the risk of losing sell-on value. However, Merino could see the Premier League giants ignore their usual stratagem in favour of luring a player who rescued Spain's hopes of clinching the Euro 2024 title.

The 28-year-old midfield maestro netted Spain's extra-time decider in the 119th minute against quarter-final opponents Germany. And that's played a part in tempting the Gunners to deviate from their youth-centric ways - a move they've previously made with signings like Jorginho and Leandro Trossard.

Merino had a brief stint at Newcastle under Rafa Benitez in 2018 after joining from Borussia Dortmund. However, it didn't pan out as expected as he returned to his homeland with Real Sociedad just 12 months later.

Arteta shares a connection with La Real, having played at the club for six months before joining Everton in January 2005. And the Spanish coach appears undeterred by Merino's previous Premier League struggles, per The Mirror.

Merino's performances at this summer's Euros have reportedly caught the eye at the Emirates Stadium, where scouts are on the hunt for reinforcements in central midfield. Arteta's side are also understood to be in the market for a defender, a wide player and a new forward ahead of the upcoming season.

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Despite being older than the club's typical transfer targets, Merino's 'talent' and 'physicality' are said to have convinced the Gunners he's Arsenal man, according to The Athletic. The same report suggested the club may make an exception to sign a more seasoned player given the general youthfulness of their squad.

Merino recently spoke to Relevo about his future but was keen to focus on the task at hand: "The next step has to come from within, from me, from analysing myself, seeing what player I am now, where I am and where I want to go. Rumours are something that I do not give importance to because I believe that a Euros is the most important thing you can face and requires 100% of your attention."

He did, however, refuse to rule out a move as he added: "So when the [Euros are] over and the days go by, I will meet with the club and my representative to see what they have to say to me and what they don't, and we'll see. You never know where football can take you, and I am willing to continue my career wherever my heart and my head ask me to."

The midfielder's current deal with Real Sociedad expires in 2025, which means he could be a potential bargain in the current climate. It's thought the north Londoners would have to pay around £21million for the Spaniard, who could join fellow countryman David Raya in the current squad.