It was a special season for Real Sociedad, making it back to the Champions League, but it might cost them some of their best players, as Arsenal have turned their attention to midfielder Asier Illarramendi.
The 23 year old is currently playing with the Spanish side in the U-21 European championship, but after the final against Italy will be available to discuss his future. The defensive midfielder enjoyed a fantastic season for Sociedad, and while he doesn’t have the imposing physical features some think Arsenal should be looking for in their next anchorman, he did an excellent job during the tournament in Israel and all throughout the season in Spain.
Sociedad aren’t in any hurry to sell Illarramendi, as he’s signed until 2018. He’s been part of the senior side’s setup since 2010, but only became a full time starter in the 2011-2012 season before finally taking over the position right from the start of this one.
He’s valued at around £8 million, but with Sociedad seeing their chance to make the Champions League for the first time in a decade as a one-time opportunity to propel the club towards a more permanent stay among the top teams in Spain, they might not be so inclined to sell one of their most important players, unless the offer is really good.
How good does it need to be? Some (the Daily Mail) suggest that a £10 million offer will be enough for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal to complete the deal, but it’s probably going to cost a little bit more than that, with the Gunners hoping to make Illarramendi the fourth Spanish player in the squad, following Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal.
Arsenal have been linked to quite a few players so far this offseason, including Gonzalo Higuain and Stevan Jovetic, among other, younger and lesser known talents. However, despite the deceleration that they have plenty of funds to spend this season on big-name players, no progress has been seen up to this point.