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Arsenal 'very close' to signing La Liga star as Barcelona withdraw from race

Arsenal 'very close' to signing La Liga star as Barcelona withdraw from race

Arsenal are closing in on a deal for the Spaniard.

Declan Rice's prospective transfer to Arsenal has been cast into doubt following reports that Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi is 'very close' to joining the Gunners.

Rice has been heavily rumoured with a move to the Emirates after turning down multiple contract extensions at West Ham.

While the 24-year-old is thought to be Mikel Arteta's priority target this summer, as the Spaniard prepares for a busy Champions League schedule next season.

However, any potential move could now be in jeopardy after reports from Spain revealed Zubimendi was 'very close' to a move to north London.

Zubimendi was originally linked with Arsenal in January, although he decided against a move midway through the season, with Arteta opting to sign Jorginho from Chelsea instead.

It seems that the Gunners have now reignited their interest in the 24-year-old, who plays a similar role to Rice.

Zubimendi 'very close' to Arsenal move

Zubimendi has spent his entire playing career at Real Sociedad, helping them to fourth place in La Liga, with a Champions League finish very much on the cards.

Barcelona have been long-term admirers of the midfielder, but have decided to stick a pin in their pursuit, according to Spanish news outlet AS, with Arsenal now frontrunners for his signature.

Should the Gunners complete the signing of Zubimendi, Rice may begin to reconsider his options, with plenty of current midfielders all vying for a place in Arsenal's starting 11.

In addition, Arsenal may find themselves short of funds, with Zubimendi's release clause set at £53 million.

On the other hand, Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Jorginho are all on the wrong side of 30, meaning Zubimendi could be signed to partner Rice in the heart of midfield, as Arteta plans for the future.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Arsenal, Declan Rice, Mikel Arteta, Real Sociedad, Transfers, Football, La Liga