Arsenal tracking Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino

    According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal are keeping a close eye on Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino who has entered the final year of his contract.

    The Gunners are in the transfer market for a new central midfielder. The Athletic recently reported that Merino is one of the names under consideration with manager Mikel Arteta being his admirer.

    Romano has now added to the story by confirming that Arsenal have been tracking him and consider the Spaniard as a good market opportunity. He added that Arteta follows Sociedad regularly.

    He told Caught Offside: “Mikel Merino – The Spain midfielder is on the list at Barcelona for sure, appreciated by the board; Arsenal have also been tracking him as he’s considered a good market opportunity with one year left on his contract, while Mikel Arteta also follows Real Sociedad regularly. Let’s see what happens, it’s still early for this one with all options open.”

    Possible signing

    Arsenal signed Declan Rice and Kai Havertz to strengthen the midfield last summer. Rice started off as the defensive midfielder with Havertz featuring from the no.8 role. Their positions changed during the season run-in with Havertz moving up top and Rice operating from the central midfield role.

    Arteta may want more competition for places in the squad. Merino would be a fine addition to the ranks due to his strong defensive skills and ability to make goal contributions. The Spaniard was involved in 13 goals for Sociedad last season, but also excelled with his defensive involvements in every outing.

    Merino won a stunning 10 duels per La Liga game last season with 6 recoveries and 2.5 tackles. His high pressing and tireless work rate suits the playing style of Arteta at Arsenal. He is someone who is prepared to task risks with his distribution and would be a welcome signing at a low fee of £21 million. Arteta is also an admirer of his compatriot Martin Zubimendi, but the 25-year-old has clearly stated that he has no reason to leave Sociedad this summer.

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