Arsenal make £43m ‘formal’ bid for Arteta ‘obsession’ as club ‘fear his departure’

Joe Williams
Arsenal transfer target Martin Zubimendi and Mikel Arteta
Martin Zubimendi was believed to be Mikel Arteta's top target.

Arsenal have made their first ‘formal’ bid for Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi as they look to get ahead of their rivals, according to reports.

The Gunners will be looking to win the Premier League title next season after narrowly missing out to Manchester City on the final day of the campaign.

Arsenal did their bit by beating Everton 2-1 but Pep Guardiola’s side defeated West Ham 3-1 to seal their fourth consecutive title by two points.

The north Londoners continue to improve every year under Mikel Arteta and they will be hoping to go one better next term by lifting the Premier League crown.

Kai Havertz, Declan Rice, David Raya and Jurrien Timber all joined last summer to increase the quality of the squad depth, although the latter spent most of the season on the sidelines through injury.

But Arteta will be looking to make similar additions over the next few months with a midfielder reportedly one of his key priorities for the summer transfer market.

And Arsenal seem to have made Real Sociedad’s Zubimendi their top target in that position with reports in Spain claiming that have now made ‘a formal proposal of around €50m (£43m)’.

The Gunners ‘have taken the initiative’ to fend off interest from other clubs like Barcelona and are showing ‘their determination to strengthen their midfield for next season’.

It still falls short of the €60m release clause in Zubimendi’s contract but the bid still ‘reflects a serious commitment on the part of the Gunners to secure the young talent’.

And it is understood that ‘this first move could trigger a bidding battle between clubs interested in the midfielder’ despite Zubimendi apparently being ‘happy’ at Sociedad, who ‘fear his departure’.

However, the report adds that interest from top Champions League clubs like Arsenal and Barcelona ‘could make him consider a change of scenery this summer’.

Arsenal boss Arteta ‘obsesses’ over Zubimendi and ‘while it remains to be seen whether Real Sociedad will accept the initial offer, this first step marks the beginning of the race to sign the Spanish international’.

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Arteta has admitted it was “painful” to miss out on the Premier League title on the final day but reckons the players and fans can be proud of their achievements over the season.

The Arsenal boss said: “I’m a winner and it takes me a while when I don’t reach the dreams. I think we should be very proud of what we’ve done throughout this season both in European competition and the Premier League. But as well, that feeling of being disappointed and not having the Premier League in our hands is painful.

“I think it’s been a really exciting season right up to the last minutes of the last day and we are fighting for the Premier League.

“I think we built so much excitement as well belief around our fans, around the players, around the club that we really wanted to deliver that moment to them. I think they deserve it. I think the team deserve it. You have to congratulate Man City at the end after 38 games. Two points more than us and they are the winners.”