Over the past couple of weeks, speculations surrounding the future of Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets and his potential replacement at the club have been doing a lot of rounds.
The 34-year-old’s contract stands to run out at the end of the season, at which point he is being tipped to move to the MLS. And, as far as his replacement is concerned, Barça have their sights set on a move for Real Sociedad ace, Martin Zubimendi.
The 23-year-old has been a solid performer at the base of the midfielder for La Real over the past couple of years and the technical staff at Barcelona see him as the ideal heir to Busquets. Manager Xavi Hernandez has also reportedly approved his signing.
However, Real Sociedad are not willing to go down without a fight as they hope to keep Zubimendi at the club beyond the current season. To that end, they are already in talks with the Spanish star over a new contract.
The midfielder’s current deal with the Basque club runs until the summer of 2025. And it also contains a release clause worth €60 million that any interested party would have to trigger to sign him.
Now, Mundo Deportivo is reporting that Real Sociedad want to increase the release clause amount by €30 million and make it €90 million as part of the new contract they are discussing with Zubimendi.
At the same time, La Real are also working on improving his wages significantly and should he sign the new deal proposed, the 23-year-old would become one of the best-paid players at the club.
Sociedad had inserted a release clause of €90 million in Alexander Isak’s contract and managed to sell him for €70 million to Newcastle United this past summer. And they could aspire for a similar fee from Zubimendi if he does wish to move amidst Barcelona’s interest.
For now, talks over a new deal, that would keep him at San Sebastian until 2027, are said to be progressing well. Whether it forces Barça to reconsider their approach for Zubimendi and realign their targets will be interesting to see.