Mikel Arteta makes double Arsenal transfer demand after £53m bid and Barcelona admission


Arsenal have reignited their interest in Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi with Aurelien Tchouameni of Real Madrid another player of interest to Mikel Arteta.

Earlier this year, the Gunners failed with a £53million transfer bid for Zubimendi – who has been capped twice for Spain. The 24-year-old has a £53million (€60m) release clause in his contract at the Basque club and has no shortage of admirers both in La Liga and the Premier League.

Zubimendi himself was reluctant to leave Real Sociedad, the club where he has spent the entirety of his career, last year when interest from the Gunners emerged. A key part of his motivation to stay at the Basque club was to represent them in the Champions League this season.

La Real have made an impressive start to their campaign in Europe’s premier club competition, drawing against last season’s beaten finalists Inter before recording impressive away victories at RB Salzburg and Benfica. Zubimendi played every minute of all three matches.

The deep-lying midfielder has developed into one of the highest performers in the Spanish top flight and has been suggested as a long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets at Barca. Oriol Romeu replaced Busquets at the Catalan club this summer, yet Zubimendi would be a long-term replacement.

Zubimendi was linked with a switch to the Gunners again this summer with Spanish outlet AS reporting that he was ‘very close’ to a move to North London. However, that report was hugely premature – with Arsenal instead signing West Ham captain Declan Rice. Yet Calciomercato outline that interest from the club is continuing, while Tchouameni of Real Madrid – whose price tag is likely to be significantly higher – is also on their radar.

A report in Sport this summer claimed that the Barca hierarchy was split over whether to make a move for the player, despite boss Xavi considering him a primary target. However, sporting director Deco – a former playmaker at Camp Nou – ultimately went for Romeu.

Xavi made his feelings on signing the midfielder clear when telling reporters back in January: "He (Zubimendi) is a more physical and faster player than Busquets, who is technically better. But not only Zubimendi, all of Real Sociedad’s midfield players. We are playing a great team and Zubimendi is a great footballer."

Granit Xhaka left Arsenal this summer to make room for the arrival of Rice, but there are ongoing questions over the future of Thomas Partey – which would coincide with the reigniting of interest in Zubimendi.

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