Arsenal £51m transfer proving ‘difficult’ as Guimaraes ‘agreement’ hands Arteta boost

Jason Soutar
Arsenal, Bayern and Barcelona-linked Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi during a match
Arsenal, Bayern and Barcelona-linked Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi during a match

Arsenal have hit a stumbling block in their pursuit of Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi and may be forced to look elsewhere, according to reports.

Mikel Arteta is believed to be keen on signing a new deep-lying midfielder in the summer transfer window and has reportedly admired Zubimendi for quite some time.

There are several midfield players being linked with a move to the Emirates, including Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz and more recently, Newcastle United star Bruno Guimaraes.

Both players are expected to cost north of £80million, which is far from ideal, but they have proven themselves to be top Premier League players and would undoubtedly improve Arteta’s starting XI.

Mohamed Elneny is expected to leave the Gunners when his contract expires this summer, while the futures of Jorginho – who is also soon to be out of contract – and Thomas Partey are up in the air.

Arsenal are reportedly in talks with Jorginho over an extension, while Partey could be sold to avoid losing him on a free in 2025.

This midfield overhaul should see Arteta bring in a top-class central midfield player but a report from Standard Sport says a deal to sign Zubimendi ‘could be difficult’.

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The report from Simon Collings states that Arsenal ‘want to sign at least one midfielder this summer’ and Arteta and director of football Edu Gaspar ‘are tracking multiple targets’.

There is a ‘long-standing interest’ in Zubimendi, while the two Premier League players are on the club’s ‘radar’ with Villa and Newcastle ‘reluctant to sell’.

The difficulty in signing the Sociedad midfielder comes from his ‘reluctance to leave his boyhood club’.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also believed to be keen and Zubimendi – who has a £51m release clause – might have made the jump to the former had Xabi Alonso taken the job.

Alonso coached the Spaniard at Real Sociedad B and was influential in helping him break into the first team, but recently committed his future to Bayer Leverkusen.

The 25-year-old ‘was expected to follow Alonso to Bayern’ but the manager’s stance means the player’s future is ‘unclear’.

Guimaraes appears to be the ideal alternative for the Gunners – who are boosted by news that Newcastle have a ‘verbal agreement’ with the player that he can leave for a Champions League club for £80m, despite having a £100m release clause.

There is expected to be competition from Manchester City for the Brazilian’s signature, though Pep Guardiola’s side are also interested in West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta.

Returning to potential outgoings at Arsenal, it is claimed in the report that Partey ‘is being tracked by clubs in Saudi Arabia’, while Elneny is ‘attracting interest from Saudi Pro League and European clubs’.

Jorginho remains in talks over a new deal and has been linked with a return to Serie A.

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