According to Spanish journalist Eugenio Mateo Serrano, Arsenal are in pole position to sign Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi in the summer transfer window.
The 24-year-old was touted to join the London giants last month but a transfer did not go through. Arsenal were ready to meet his £53 million release clause but the midfielder did not want to leave Sociedad midway through the season.
Speaking to Calciomercato.it, Serrano has now said that Barcelona are interested in signing Zubimendi as a replacement for Busquets but a deal is difficult with the Spaniard wanting Premier League football. Arsenal are favourites to sign him.
He said: “Xavi needs another player instead of Busquets. The number one pick is Martín Zubimendi, from Real Sociedad. But it’s also difficult because Zubimendi wants to play in the Premier League, and for me Arsenal are in pole position.”
Zubimendi has been one of the leading defensive midfielders in the Spanish top-flight this season. The midfielder is gifted with good distribution skills but has also impressed with his ability to win regular duels, especially in the air.
Barcelona see him as a successor to Busquets who could leave this summer but Arsenal have the edge over them with the player keen on moving to the Premier League. Zubimendi already has traits that would make him successful in England.
At Arsenal, he could start off as a deputy for Thomas Partey before eventually replacing the Ghanaian in the line-up. Partey will be 30 before the start of next season and Arsenal could look beyond him as they look to rebuild their midfield.
Mikel Arteta’s side should have a busy summer transfer window irrespective of where they finish in the Premier League this season. With a likely return to Champions League football, they should be able to attract some of the best young stars.
Zubimendi is not the only midfielder on their radar ahead of the summer. Brighton & Hove Albion ace Moises Caicedo continues to be linked. West Ham United captain Declan Rice also remains on the transfer wishlist of the league leaders.