Barcelona concede defeat in race for €60 million Spanish defensive midfielder
Not long ago, Martin Zubimendi was set to become Barcelona’s main target for the upcoming 2023 summer transfer window.
The club were convinced that the Real Sociedad starlet has what it takes to replace Sergio Busquets, who in turn, looks set to leave Camp Nou after his contract expires at the end of the season.
However, according to Diario SPORT, Barcelona have conceded defeat in the pursuit of Zubimendi. This is because a new player has emerged in the chase in the form of Arsenal, whose manager Mikel Arteta shares the same agent as Zubimendi.
Barcelona have always considered the Spaniard as their priority target in 2023. The club’s internal management worked behind the scenes to make the move happen at the end of the season, thanks in line to Jordi Cruyff’s excellent relationship with the player’s agent.
Zubimendi himself was aware of Barcelona’s interest. But it appears the Spaniard is now fancying his chances and is open to joining Arsenal next season.
Barça would have been in contention for the midfielder, too, but the Catalans are simply not in a position to pay the €60 million release clause embedded in Zubimendi’s contract. Real Sociedad themselves never showed any desire to negotiate below the release clause.
This put Barça in a precarious position, which Arsenal have now taken advantage of. The Premier League giants are in a position to afford Zubimendi’s release clause and may even end up signing the Spaniard in the summer, effectively leaving Barcelona to fend for other options.
The Blaugrana have had no shortage of alternatives in the market. But a lot will depend how the club manage to balance their books and adhere to the Financial Fair Play regulations.