Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi has discussed reports linking him with a move elsewhere amid interest from Premier League leaders Arsenal.
The 24-year-old has emerged as one of La Liga’s standout midfielders as he has shone for Real Sociedad over the past couple of seasons.
He is helping Real Sociedad enjoy a brilliant campaign in 2022/23. The fourth-placed Spanish side are on course to qualify for the Champions League as they are three points clear of nearest rivals Real Betis.
Zubimendi was one of the midfielders Arsenal looked at during the January transfer window. He reportedly ‘rejected’ a move to Arsenal earlier this year as he was unwilling to leave Real Sociedad halfway through the season.
Arsenal instead looked elsewhere and signed Jorginho from rivals Chelsea. They remain in the market for a new midfielder, with West Ham’s Declan Rice and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo among their targets.
But it was reported back in February that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has ‘asked’ the club’s board to target Zubimendi this summer.
Zubimendi has now spoken out about a transfer away from Real Sociedad. He has insisted that it would have been “illogical” to exit the La Liga outfit mid-season.
“Rumours, rumours, because I told my agent that I didn’t want to hear anything, especially in winter,” Zubimendi told Spanish outlet Sport (via Sport Witness).
“Leaving Real Sociedad aside with the season we are having would be illogical. I am very happy here.”
When asked about his plans for this summer’s transfer window, he added: “I look forward to a quiet summer. Like the rest.”
Last year, Zubimendi signed a new contract which runs until 2027. It is understood that this deal includes a €60m release clause.
The midfielder has explained why this clause “doesn’t matter”.
“Beyond the clause, when someone wants to be in a club, the clause doesn’t matter,” Zubimendi continued.
“I think it is a balanced clause with all the aspects that the contract brought together. Nothing more than that.”
Barcelona are also big admirers of Zubimendi. Head coach Xavi has publicly praised the midfielder on several occasions.
Zubimendi has also admitted that it “makes him happy” when he is praised by Xavi.
“If someone like Xavi mentions my name it makes me happy,” Zubimendi admitted.
He is also pleased to be compared with Barcelona star Sergio Busquets: “If you compare any player to Busquets, they already lost. He is the best.
“We play in the same position, but we are very different. Busquets is a reference player, and he will continue to be one for a long time.”