Arsenal set to rival Barcelona for Spain midfielder – report

Merino is wanted by Arsenal and Barca


Arsenal are reportedly keen on a move for Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino but could face competition from Barcelona for his signature.

Mikel Arteta’s side are keen to welcome a new midfielder to the Emirates Stadium this summer and may have settled on the Spanish star, whose contract with Sociedad is set to expire in 2025.

According to Mundo Deportivo, manager Arteta is said to personally be interested in Merino’s skillset and the Gunners are exploring a deal. However, they aren’t the only team monitoring him with Barca and new manager Hansi Flick also tracking developments.

Sociedad are thought to value Merino at around €25m, a fee that’s realistically affordable for the north London side, whereas Barca may struggle to find the necessary cash.

Reports also state Arteta has already started to carve Merino into his plans with Sport confirming the Spaniard has personally reached out to his compatriot in a bid to sweeten the move.

If Merino does choose Arsenal over Barcelona, he will return to the Premier League after previously impressing at Newcastle United. After becoming a fan favourite at St James’ Park, the midfielder swapped the Magpies for Sociedad in the summer of 2018.

Mikel Arteta
Arteta hopes to bring Merino to the Emirates / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

In an interview with Faro de Vigo while on international duty with Spain at Euro 2024, Merino was asked about his views on the Premier League and his time at Newcastle amid interest from clubs like Arsenal.

He said: “What marked me the most in Newcastle was the stadium, the fans. I think it was a unique life, feeling what St James’ Park is, I will always have it in my heart and mind because it is something unique.

“If there is one thing I am happy about throughout this journey, it is that the steps I have taken in my career have been perfect and at the right time to continue growing as a footballer who has undergone a growth process. And I don’t want it to end.”

Before he looks ahead to the 2024/25 campaign, Merino must first navigate Euro 2024. He made substitute appearances against Croatia and Italy before starting Spain’s final Group B fixture against Albania.

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