Barcelona Sporting Director Deco met with the agent of Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Zubimendi this week,

but it wasn’t an entirely positive meeting from a Blaugrana perspective. The Basque metronome remains out of reach for Barcelona as things stand.

Zubimendi remains the preferred pivot target for manager Xavi Hernandez, and Deco met with his agent, informing him that he was a priority for Barcelona, and ahead of Joshua Kimmich in their internal pecking order.

However the meeting’s outcome was that the situation remains in status quo – Barcelona cannot afford to pay his €60m release clause, which is what La Real will demand for the 25-year-old.

Sport say that Zubimendi holds little belief in a move transpiring, seeing it as a long shot

On the flipside, fellow Gipuzkoan Mikel Arteta is a long-term admirer of his at Arsenal, and the Premier League is an attractive prospect for him.

Xavi has spoken with Zubimendi in the past about a potential move, and that does hold some weight for Zubimendi, but until Barcelona can prove they have the money, it’s not something being seriously considered by the Spain international.

Equally, he is happy at Real Sociedad and has no strong desire to move on, albeit he wants Champions League football, which the Txuri-Urdin will miss out on this year.

If Barcelona cannot raise the money necessary for Zubimendi, then it seems likely that he will have offers this summer from other giants.

While several years ago the demand for quality central defenders spiked, this summer the most in-demand position appears to be midfielders that can screen the defence effectively, and several top teams are in the market for one.

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