Exclusive — Liverpool are ready to challenge title rivals Arsenal for the signature of Martin Zubimendi.
Anfield Watch understands that the Reds would be prepared to fork out the €60m (£51m) release clause to sign the Real Sociedad midfielder.
Liverpool are planning to go all out and fight the Gunners for the signature of the Spain international, who has been in fine form in La Liga.
Mikel Arteta's side are long-term admirers of the 25-year-old and are also thought to be plotting an offer in the summer.
The Liverpool interest comes amid speculation that the club still need a top-class player at the base of their midfield.
The £35m summer signing Alexis Mac Allister has been used as a 'number six', this season. However, questions remain about the Argentina international's long-term role.
While Jurgen Klopp has also been able to call on Wataru Endo in the heart of the engine room, the Japan captain turns 31 this month.
Meanwhile, Thiago Alcantara —who recently returned to action after a ten-month injury layoff — appears set to leave upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season.
Zubimendi's ball retention and passing ability have led to compared with both Sergio Busquets and his former coach at Real Sociedad Xabi Alonso, who is the leading candidate to succeed Klopp at Liverpool this summer.
When working as a coach at Real Sociedad B, Alonso took Zubimendi under this wing and guided him to the first team, where he made his debut in 2020.
When asked about the comparisons to Alonso, Zubimendi told the Guardian in 2022: “He’s an idol to me, a role model, so I’m delighted that he says nice things about me.
“The thing is, I think it’s the other way round. I get asked about him so much he must get bored of hearing me talk about him. He’ll be tired of me going on about how good he is.”
Zubimendi has played a total of 174 matches for Real Sociedad's first team, netting seven goals in that period.