Home Sport Xabi Alonso lends Arsenal helping hand towards £51m summer transfer

Xabi Alonso lends Arsenal helping hand towards £51m summer transfer

Arsenal may have gained a major boost in their pursuit of midfield target Martin Zubimendi, thanks to an unlikely helping hand from Xabi Alonso. The Bayer Leverkusen boss turned down interest from both Liverpool and Bayern Munich, seemingly scuppering transfer plans for the Bundesliga champions.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims that Zubimendi remains of interest to Arsenal, having been a long-term target of Mikel Arteta. The Real Sociedad star has a £51million release clause and also caught the eye of Bayern and Barcelona with his displays in La Liga.

And one of his many admirers is Alonso, with Bayern considering Zubimendi as a top priority if they were able to make the Leverkusen manager their next head coach. However, with Alonso staying put, their willingness to pursue the 25-year-old may depend on who is chosen as Thomas Tuchel’s replacement.

Barcelona are in a similar situation, with their interest appearing to cool without a head coach in place for next season. That leaves Arsenal in pole position for Zubimendi, who could complete a midfield with Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard next season.

Zubimendi turned down interest from elsewhere last summer in order to play in the Champions League with Sociedad. Having reached the knockout stage, he wanted to remain at the club once again in January but seven points behind Athletic Club in fourth place, Sociedad are unlikely to repeat their European efforts.

And Arsenal have already been given a glowing recommendation of Zubimendi by one of their own players. Kieran Tierney has spent the season on loan at Sociedad and was blown away by the quality of his new team-mates.

“You have world-class players like Martin Zubimendi, Mikel Merino, Brais Mendez,” Tierney said. “It’s not that people don’t think they’re good, it’s just that if you’re only watching the Premier League every week, it’s hard to know. They’re world class.”

And Spain international Zubimendi could be the perfect replacement for Thomas Partey, with Arsenal increasingly likely to cash in on the Ghanaian with just over a year left on his contract at the Emirates.

Injury has derailed Partey’s campaign and further importance has been placed on Rice and Jorginho, as the pair anchored Arsenal’s midfield in Sunday’s goalless draw at Manchester City.

With Alonso remaining at Leverkusen, leaving Bayern alongside Barcelona in limbo over their summer transfer plans, Arsenal can steal a march on both and press ahead with plans to activate Zubimendi’s £51m release clause and bring him to north London.


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