Manchester United’s chances of landing Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi have suffered a further blow with head coach Imanol Alguacil claiming that the Premier League-linked star wants to stay in San Sebastian.
The Spain international reportedly caught Manchester United’s eye with an imperious performance at Old Trafford during Sociedad’s 1-0 Europa League triumph in September of last year (Mundo Deportivo).
Since then, Martin Zubimendi has continued to go from strength-to-strength; Arsenal joining the race for his increasingly sought-after signature with Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez confirming his own interest in this ‘extraordinary’ deep-lying playmaker.
Zubimendi, however, has been reluctant to fan the flames of speculation. The 24-year-old indicated recently that he plans to stay for at least one more season at his hometown club.
And Alguacil, who’s Sociedad side are now on the brink of returning to Europe’s elite club competition after a decade away, expects to still have Zubimendi at his disposal for the next 12 months or so.
Martin Zubimendi unlikely to join Manchester United this summer
“I know what he thinks and what he wants,” Alguacil tells Marca. “And I have no doubt that Martín wants to play in the Champions League with us next year.
“Zubimendi has a contract with us. It’s the best place he can be and he wants to be with us.”
The one-time Spain international is among a number of highly-rated ‘number sixes’ linked with a
Manchester United side who appear to be on the lookout for a long-term Casemiro replacement. Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, Everton’s Amadou Onana and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo are also reportedly of interest to Erik ten Hag and co.
Casemiro, however, clearly still has plenty of juice left in the tank. The now-31-year-old Brazilian produced a late contender for United’s Goal of the Season award with a stunning bicycle kick winner away at AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.
“He keeps surprising us,” Ten Hag beams.
“He’s such a brilliant football player. We know him as very good organisation, positioning, anticipating, intercepting a lot of balls, winning duels. A fighter, keeping the team together. But also in possession his passing, his distribution, but also finishing. Just a great football player.
“We emphasise a lot and where we train on a lot. It’s about the movements when we are in the final third and movements of course has to come from the front line, second line just behind but also from the third line with fullbacks and with Casemiro coming from there.
“The movement is great, the touch from Christian Eriksen I think is great and the finish is brilliant.”