€60m Arsenal midfield target is 'world class' claims on-loan Tierney

Peter Staunton
  • 17 Feb 2024 13:17 GMT
  • 3 min read
Robin Le Normand Martin Zubimendi Kieran Tierney Real Sociedad

An Arsenal transfer target has been hailed as “world class” by Kieran Tierney, who is currently on loan at Real Sociedad alongside the €60 million-rated Martin Zubimendi.

Tierney moved to the Basque Country on a one-season loan deal having fallen down the pecking order under Mikel Arteta in North London.

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He struggled to get to grips with the demands the Arsenal manager placed on his full-backs in playing through the centre of the pitch, something done better by Tierney’s rival for the position, Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Combined with that, the 26-year-old has also struggled with injuries throughout his time at the Emirates, and some much-needed match practice could be provided to him in LaLiga.

There have been troubles in Spain however, with two hamstring injuries limiting the time the Scotland international has been able to spend on the pitch with his new team-mates.

Tierney names 'world class' team mates

He has, however, been taken with life in the Spanish top flight and has hailed some of his team-mates as among the world’s best having seen them close up.

Takefusa Kubo, signed on a permanent deal from Real Madrid, was crowned Sociedad’s player of the year last term with Brais Mendez also impressing under manager Imanol Alguacil.

Meanwhile Mikel Merino has got his career on track after a disappointing spell with Newcastle in the Premier League. He was signed for a paltry €12m back in 2018, establishing himself as a regular Spain international and being voted into LaLiga’s team of the season last term.

Also singled out for praise was Martin Zubimendi, a 25-year-old central midfielder who has been linked with a transfer to Arsenal.

Another Spain international, Zubimendi is regarded as among the best in his position in the Spanish top flight and is reportedly available for a €60m release clause.

He has been compared to both Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso and was a UEFA Nations League winner with Spain in 2023.

Arsenal are said to be seeking midfield reinforcements this summer having seen their spending restricted in winter as they battled to stay within FFP guidelines.

Martin Zubimendi
© IMAGO - Martin Zubimendi

“I was up against Take Kubo in the first couple of weeks training, so to see how sharp he is struck me,” Tierney told The Guardian.

“You have world-class players like [Marton] Zubimendi, [Mikel] Merino, Brais [Mendez]. 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 for so many to come from the academy is incredible.”

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