Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi is “very close to accepting an offer” from Arsenal, according to AS.
The Madrid-based newspaper claims that Barcelona were also interested in the Spanish international but a transfer to the Camp Nou has now been “ruled out” due to the Gunners’ interest.
Zubimendi’s move to the Emirates is not expected to take place during the January transfer window, with the deal being negotiated for “next season”.
If talks are already being held with the player and his agent, it would suggest that Arsenal will trigger the midfielder‘s release clause, which currently stands at €60m (£51.3m).
Why can’t Zubimendi move to Arsenal this month?
Financial Fair Play and the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability rules mean that Mikel Arteta’s side have very little room to manoeuvre in the transfer market.
To sign Zubimendi in January, Arsenal would probably have to make a substantial sale first, and that appears unlikely to happen in the final week before the transfer deadline.
What do Arsenal fans need to know about Zubimendi?
The 24-year-old has spent his entire career at Real Sociedad, coming through the club’s youth academy before making his first-team debut against Getafe in April 2019.
Zubimendi has subsequently gone on to make 173 appearances for Real Sociedad, scoring 8 goals and providing 7 assists.
He is a holding midfield player by trade, and there are similarities in his game to Jorginho, dictating play with his passing from deep-lying areas.
Zubimendi has also been capped by Spain, making his first appearance for his country in a friendly against Lithuania in June 2021. He had to wait over two years for his next cap in a European Championship qualifier versus Georgia back in September.
The midfielder subsequently made his first start at international level during a 3-1 win over Cyprus a couple of months ago.