Mikel Arteta is an admirer of Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino

Arsenal could sign a new central midfielder in addition to a left-sided defender this summer, according to The Athletic.

The Gunners are currently in advanced discussions with Bologna for Riccardo Calafiori and a deal could be finalised in the next few days.

The London giants are bound to make more signings and it is claimed that Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino is a player of interest for the club.

Gunners manager Mikel Arteta is an admirer of the former Newcastle United midfielder’s talent and physicality.

Merino turned 28 last month, but the club are open to the prospect of adding experienced players alongside a relatively youthful squad.

Merino would suit Arsenal’s playing style

The Spaniard is not a strong ball-playing midfielder and he completed only 77 percent of his passes in La Liga for Sociedad in the recent campaign.

Despite this, he appears to be attracting interest due to his creativity and ability to stop opponents in their stride with his strong defensive skills.

Merino won a stunning 10.2 duels per appearance last season with 6.2 ball recoveries. He also won 2.4 tackles on average, making 1.7 clearances.

The former Magpies man chipped in with eight goals and five assists from 45 games last term.

Merino has some demerits such as his average passing accuracy and knack for losing possession, but he is someone who is forward-minded from midfield.

This could be a reason behind the interest from Arteta. The manager has reportedly held secret talks with Merino, who could be signed for just £21 million.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com & Sofascore.com

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