“From The Conversations I Have Had” – Reliable Journalist Claims Arsenal Will Miss Out On Ex-Newcastle Star

Arsenal will not be signing Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino this summer, according to The Athletic journalist James McNicholas.

Reports in the Catalan media had credited the Gunners with an interest in the 28-year-old, who has less than one year left on his contract. However, McNicholas says the player will put pen to paper on a new deal, keeping him at his current team:

“Interesting player, he plays for Sociedad. It didn’t work for him at Newcastle. He’s 28. I think the expectation from the conversations I have had is that he will sign a new contract and he will stay with Sociedad.”

“It’s a good time for Real Sociedad and he enjoys playing there. I don’t doubt that he’s a player Mikel Arteta will have watched plenty of. He’s very physical, but at present, he’s more inclined to stay at Sociedad than be a squad player in England.”

Why were Arsenal pursuing Merino?

The London club are keen to strengthen their depth in the middle of the park and, with reports suggesting that Emile Smith Rowe could be sold, Merino would have been a cheap replacement.

As McNicholas mentions, Merino has played in this country before, having spent a season at Newcastle, so he wouldn’t have needed to adapt to the Premier League either.

Who could be signed instead?

It is believed that Merino’s teammate, Martin Zubimendi, is still on the Gunners’ radar, but they may have a tough time persuading him to make a move to the Emirates, even if they trigger his €60m (£51m) release clause.

Lile Merino, Zubimendi is reportedly happy at Real Sociedad. Other alternatives include the likes of Everton’s Amadou Onana, Monaco’s Youssouf Fofana and Benfica’s Joao Neves but it doesn’t seem as if the club have prioritised reinforcing this area of the pitch. The current focus is on recruiting centre-back Riccardo Calafiori from Bologna.

Watch Football and Sport programmes on Shots! here

David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.