Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta could be left with egg on his face for the second time if he goes back in for Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi. The Gunners have been widely tipped to seek reinforcements this month as they look to keep up with Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
Arsenal have recently been linked with a move for a new central midfielder, with the likes of Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny having struggled with injuries over the last few seasons. Zubimendi is thought to be a player of interest to the Gunners, who are said to be plotting a January bid for his services, according to The Sun.
The 24-year-old is said to have a release clause of £50million written into his contract, with Arsenal able to bypass negotiations at club level by stumping up the required amount of cash. However, there is no guarantee that Zubimendi would be willing to entertain talks over personal terms after snubbing the north Londoners a year ago.
Arsenal were ready to pay up for Zubimendi last January after identifying him as the missing piece of the puzzle in midfield, according to Cadena SER. Their efforts to bring him to the Emirates Stadium ultimately went up in smoke, though, with Zubimendi deciding that he would rather stay in Spain.
He had only just signed a contract extension at Real Sociedad when Arsenal came calling, which was said to have been a major influence in his decision to reject a move away. It seems as though it could be the same result if the Gunners choose to revive their interest in Zubimendi, who has already hinted that he would be willing to snub them again.
Speaking just a few months ago, he said: “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. I told my manager that I didn’t want to hear anything, especially in winter. Leaving Real Sociedad aside with the season we are having would be illogical.”
Arsenal, meanwhile, are yet to make any signings in the January market and may struggle to add reinforcements before the window slams shut. Arteta suggested last week that the Gunners might not strike any deals at all until the summer, when they will have better opportunities to land players of the right calibre.
He said: “We are open for the transfer market but the emphasis is on making the most of what we have. We will work with the club to see if we have any options.” Quizzed on whether this means that Arsenal may wait until the end of the season to start spending, Arteta added: “That’s a possibility.”
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