Barcelona have been dealt with a blow in their pursuit of Martin Zubimendi recently as Arsenal have joined the chase and are even threatening to run away with the midfielder’s signing next summer.
Barcelona have been tracking the progress of Zubimendi for a long time. But they were often bogged down in negotiations as Real Sociedad have firmly stuck to their asking price of €60 million. It is a figure considered too expensive for the club, especially in the midst of their problems with Financial Fair Play regulations.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have shown indications that they are willing to meet the asking price. Although Zubimendi has refused to move to the Premier League in the ongoing January transfer window, the Spaniard could be open to joining the Gunners next season.
This has led to uncertainty in the Barcelona camp and reports suggested that the Catalans were ready to throw in the towel in pursuit of Zubimendi.
However, according to AS, Barça’s coaching staff, led by Xavi Hernandez, has not given up just yet.
Although they are aware of Arsenal’s financial ability and Mikel Arteta’s close relationship with the player’s agent, they believe there is a possibility of Zubimendi could still arrive at Camp Nou.
Xavi, in particular, is a great admirer of Zubimendi. He considers the Spaniard as the ideal replacement for Sergio Busquets and wants to sign him regardless of whether the club captain stays or leaves at the end of the season.
In the scenario that Busquets stays and Zubimendi arrives, the latter will have a chance at a smoother transition at Camp Nou. But in case Busquets opts to move on, the 23-year-old will be thrown into the deep end right away.
Xavi values the player’s work-ethic and defensive ability – two critical aspects of any defensive midfielder’s game. And although Arsenal looms in the shadow, it appears the Real Sociedad starlet continues to remain a top target for the Catalans, irrespective of Busquets’ future.