A report has revealed which player Arsenal are prioritising for a summer swoop after learning that Martin Zubimendi will not be moving to the Emirates.
Zubimendi has established himself as a reliable player for Real Sociedad in recent years. This season, he has played in all but one of their league matches, helping the club to reach fourth spot and put themselves in a great position to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Zubimendi has been affectionately labelled as ‘the next Sergio Busquets’ and his top performances have resulted in interest from some major teams.
Arsenal and Barcelona have been named as his main suitors. However, the Spaniard has played down talk he could leave Real Sociedad.
During an interview with Spanish outlet Sport, he said: “[They are] rumours. I told my agent that I didn’t want to hear anything, especially in winter.
“Leaving Real Sociedad aside with the season we are having would be illogical. I am very happy here.
“I look forward to a quiet summer. Like the rest.”
Zubimendi added: “Beyond the [release] clause, when someone wants to be in a club, the clause doesn’t matter.
Martin Zubimendi rejection forces Arsenal to look elsewhere
“I think it is a balanced clause with all the aspects that the contract brought together. Nothing more than that.”
It seems Zubimendi will reject Arsenal and Barcelona’s advances in favour of a Real Sociedad stay. And this has forced Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to look at alternative midfield signings.
According to an update from Football Transfers, Arteta has landed on Brighton’s Moises Caicedo as his ‘priority’ summer target.
The 21-year-old was the subject of bids from both Arsenal and Chelsea in January, but Brighton held firm. They did not want to lose him mid-season as they view him as being vital to their push for European football.
Brighton’s stance could change this summer though. Arsenal are preparing to ‘revisit’ their talks with the Seagulls and will go all out to try and make the transfer a reality this time around.
Caicedo did sign a new contract with Brighton which is intended to keep him on the south coast until June 2027. However, Arsenal know that the hugely talented midfielder will be allowed to leave if the price is right.
As with the Mykhaylo Mudryk negotiations though, Arsenal will walk away from the transfer if Brighton ask for too much money. The report reveals how Arteta has been given a £150m transfer budget, excluding the extra money that will be earned from qualifying for the Champions League and potentially winning the Premier League title.
Arteta also needs to improve other positions such as left-back and centre-forward. So he will not want to spend a majority of his budget on Caicedo.
Arsenal would ideally like to spend around £70m on the Ecuadorian. But whether this will be enough to get Brighton to sign off on his exit remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, an Arsenal talent is refusing to close the door on a potential long-term transfer away from the Gunners.