Arsenal had scouts in attendance as Real Sociedad beat Benfica 1-0 in a Champions League group game on Tuesday night, according to AFTV.
It is likely that the Gunners were keeping tabs on one of their transfer targets, Martin Zubimendi, who played the full 90 minutes in Portugal.
The Spanish international reportedly has a €60m (£52m) release clause in his contract and the Gunners have weighed up whether to trigger it in the past.
However, it was reported back in January that Zubimendi would turn down a move to the Emirates if Mikel Arteta’s side made a bid. A couple of months later, the player confirmed that he wasn’t ready to leave San Sebastian:
“I have never planned to leave Real Sociedad – I always say that. I love life here, at home, I’m so happy here. The values of this club are the same as mine so I feel very good, I always said that I’m happy.”
Has Zubimendi’s transfer stance changed?
The 24-year-old has a contract that expires in 2027, having signed a five-year extension in October last year. He has made a long-term commitment to the club; something that he has reiterated since then.
The existence of the release clause does give Arsenal a glimmer of hope that a deal could happen but everything depends on Zubimendi.
Arsenal are weighing up replacements for Thomas Partey
Zubimendi has been suggested as a potential successor for the Ghanaian international, despite the fact they are not similar types of player.
Even so, Partey’s ongoing injury problems mean that the Gunners could do with adding more numbers in the middle of the park.
Zubimendi would be an expensive addition, and it may require a club to make a substantial offer for Partey to fund a bid for the Real Sociedad star.