For Arsenal football, Martin Zubimendi is still a top aim.Although a transfer in January is all but impossible, London understands. Rather, a summer deal would be significantly more plausible as the Gunners have more financial flexibility and midfield opportunities become available.
With Thomas Partey, Jorginho, and Declan Rice, Arsenal may have the strongest group of defensive midfielders in the world right now. The problem they face is that, save from Mohamed Elneny, Partey, Jorginho, and the Ghanaian are entering their latter years of their careers and, without an extension, have contracts that end this summer.
Partey, on the other hand, has struggled with severe injuries that he is only now beginning to heal from. On Tuesday night against Nottingham Forest, he could be able to play. Even in a world where Zubimendi does replace any outgoings, he remains a mystery to many.
Like he did with Rice and, of course, Gabriel Jesus, Kai Havertz, Ben White, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Leandro Trossard, Arteta has supported a pattern in which prominent Premier League players join the club after spending large sums of money. Despite his disappointments with injuries, he has found success with imports like as Takehiro Tomiyasu, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Magalhaes, and of course, Partey.
At least statistically, Zubimendi appears to be someone who will need to improve in order to catch up to the current Arsenal talent. Real Sociedad’s best player is now not outperforming his Arsenal competitors in terms of passing accuracy and progression, which is what Arteta demands from his players.
In the past season, Partey completed 8.37 passes per 90 possessions into the final third, while Rice completed 8.47 passes this season, according to FBRef. This season, Zubimendi has only made 4.47 passes per 90 minutes into the final third for La Real.
Of course, we must apply context between clubs. For example, Arsenal averages 57.79% Premier League possession per game, which is just more than Sociedad’s 55.13%.
This disparity may not even be sufficient to account for La Real’s defensive midfielder’s lack of passes into the final third compared to the Arsenal pair. But when you examine the passes made by each team into the final third of the game, it does: Sociedad scores 47, and Arsenal has 62.57.
When it comes to the Spanish team, Sociedad and Arsenal clearly differ in both style and calibre. We would anticipate a significant improvement in these figures if Zubimendi joined Arsenal, and at 24, he still has a lot of potential.
However, attacking percentages start to highlight Arteta’s interest in the defensive midfield player. While Partey only manages 48.1%, Zubimendi is right behind with 53.3%, and Rice leads with 55.9%.
Similar numbers of interceptions per ninety are recorded by Partey (1.01), Zubimendi (1.21), and Rice (1.53). The Gunners will need to make a significant commitment to finalize the transfer given the £53 million release clause, even though the player’s indicators are extremely encouraging and the club’s interest in him is evident.