Arsenal hold a genuine interest in Mikel Merino, according to a report.

The midfielder’s future is up in the air after his Real Sociedad contract expired. Merino looks ready for a new challenge and his agents are sounding out the market.

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Off the back of several impressive seasons with Erreala, the former Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund man is in demand and he will have only further boosted his reputation when he starred for Spain against Germany, scoring the all-important 119th-minute goal that sent his country to the semi-final.

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Barcelona have been heavily linked with the 28-year-old, but Spanish media already reported a few weeks ago that Arsenal had taken a surprise interest in Merino. According to The Athletic, the Gunners are indeed keen on him.

Mikel Merino
© IMAGO – Mikel Merino

Arsenal want Merino

Arsenal have primarily focused on younger players during the reign of Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu, but they have shown a willingness to supplement their youthful squad with experience when required.

Merino would fall into the same category of signing as Jorginho and Leandro Trossard. Arteta is said to be an admirer of Merino and it is only natural that the ex-Magpie caught the Basque’s eye given the Arsenal boss’ love for Martin Zubimendi.

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Merino and Zubimendi, of course, had been running Real Sociedad’s midfield prior to the former’s departure, so Arteta, himself an ex-Erreala player, will only be all too familiar with the 28-year-old’s game.

Merino is viewed as a low-cost alternative to some of the more expensive names that have been linked with the Gunners. Given that Zubimendi looks reluctant to leave his boyhood club, his former partner in crime could be a viable option for Arsenal instead.

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