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Manchester United ‘ready to battle Barcelona for Martin Zubimendi’

Manchester United ‘ready to battle Barcelona for Martin Zubimendi’

Manchester United are reportedly preparing to rival Barcelona for the signature of Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi.

The 23-year-old has again been a vital player for his Basque club during the 2022-23 campaign, making 16 appearances in all competitions, contributing one goal and two assists in the process.

Barcelona have been heavily linked with the Spaniard, with the Catalan outfit’s head coach Xavi said to view him as the ideal long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets.

However, according to Mundo Deportivo, there is also interest from Old Trafford, with Man United potentially adding another midfielder to their ranks next summer.

Christian Eriksen and Casemiro both arrived in the recent market, but Fred could potentially leave on a free transfer at the end of the season, while there is also uncertainty surrounding Donny van de Beek‘s future.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag pictured on September 8, 2022© Reuters

Zubimendi only signed a new contract with Real Sociedad in the middle of October, with his current deal with the Basque side due to run until one 2027.

The midfielder’s contract is said to include a €60m (£51.7m) release clause, though, which would rise to €65m (£56m) during the January transfer window.

Real Sociedad are said to be confident of keeping the Spaniard past January, but they are aware that it will be difficult for him to stay on a long-term basis due to the growing interest in his services.

Zubimendi has scored once and provided two assists in 14 La Liga appearances this season, while he also featured twice in the group stage of the Europa League, including his side’s 1-0 defeat to Man United at the start of November.

The Spaniard has represented Real Sociedad on 114 occasions in all competitions, contributing four goals and four assists in the process.

Erik ten Hag leads Manchester United training on September 7, 2022© Reuters

Exits for Fred and Van de Beek next year would put Man United in the market for another central midfielder, while the team’s defence and attack is also expected to be boosted over the next couple of transfer windows.

Right-back is said to be a priority area for Red Devils head coach Erik ten Hag, with the Dutchman looking to bring in competition for Diogo Dalot.

Meanwhile, Man United will move for a new striker next year following Cristiano Ronaldo‘s departure, with the Portugal international having his contract terminated.

The 20-time English champions are said to be weighing up whether to sign a new striker in January or wait until the end of the campaign, as Ronaldo’s exit has left the team short of options at centre-forward.

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