Some fans are already worrying about exactly what is needed to make the deal permanent but loan star Mikel Merino simply says ‘I’m really, really happy to be here, enjoying every training, every match’.

Getting an early chance due to Jonjo Shelvey’s opening day red card, despite only two previous starts in a top division (for Borussia Dortmund) the 21 year old Spaniard has eased seamlessly into the Premier League.

The midfielder running the show at the minute, always available to take a pass in the middle of the pitch, and looking a player with a massive future.

Jonjo Shelvey has had to settle for a place on the bench since his return from suspension, the only game he has started being a game for the Under 23s.

However, Mikel Merino insists that the two can play together, rather than it being a straight choice, indeed many supporters wonder if Shelvey could be accommodated in the team in place of the disappointing Ayoze Perez.

Merino is attracting the attention of pundits/experts and so in these upcoming matches, it will be no surprise to see the opposition looking at how to make it more difficult for the Spanish Under 21 international.

Momentum is a powerful thing though and playing with confidence and belief in his teammates, no reason why Mikel Merino can’t deal with what is to come.

Three very different matches are coming up, with a home match against Liverpool sandwiched between trips to Brighton and Southampton.

Interesting if Newcastle come through those games still in decent form, as the matches that then follow are Palace home, Burnley away and Bournemouth at home.

Just great at the moment for the fans, that at the minute we are looking up, not down.

Mikel Merino:

“Of course I would have taken this first month (at Newcastle), it would have been perfect if we’d won all the matches but the way we are playing, the way the team thinks about playing football, the penetration and concentration – all of these things are perfect at the moment.

“I’m really, really happy to be here, enjoying every training, every match.

“I look comfortable playing football, not only in Premier League…it’s what I like, it’s what I love, I have been doing it since I was seven years old, and, for me, it is my love.

“It doesn’t matter if we are playing at a higher intensity, I have to adapt to it, the main reason why I feel comfortable is I have really good team-mates who are always supporting me.”

“We have to be sure that we do our job, be sure that we have the crowd and be strong in our home here.

“We are lucky now, because we are winning and I hope this is going to be a good thing for us. We will be more confident and we can carry on and keep working.”

“We have to keep going, we have to keep playing like this effort, this rhythm, just doing our work – keep winning if we can.

“Of course me and Jonjo (Shelvey) can play together – all of the midfielders can play together. We have a connection.

“That is one of the things that is really important in football, trust in your team-mates, then it doesn’t matter who plays, because you can make it really clear whose job is which and adapt to it.”



  • Paul Patterson

    Seems an honest lad. Let’s hope we build an atmosphere and a team to help him flourish.

  • Steve Pearce

    While I wouldn’t say that Perez was disappointing on Saturday, the thought of a Merino/Shelvey combination makes my mouth water! I’d play Merino in Perez’s position where he could not only feed the striker but be a threat on his own. But the key issue is that we MUST complete his formal signing as soon as possible and give him a long contract otherwise he’ll be off to a bigger spending club at the end of the season.

    • Jimblag23

      I think I’d prefer Shelvey further forward than Merino.
      Merino is a bit more of a battler.
      Obviously then you sacrifice Jonjo being the kind of QB, but Merino has a good range of passing himself.

      • Steve Pearce

        Could be interesting, but I haven’t seen Shelvey play in such a forward position yet. Still its up to Rafa and we’ll just have to wait and see.

      • molend

        Fair point, but I would worry about his temper(ament). He seems barely able to keep cool in a relatively hassle-free position. No. 10s get clagged regularly

      • lukegte

        Took the words out of my mouth. Well, keyboard.

    • TheFatController

      Perez is the main defender for the team – stopping teams build from the back or running midfield – proof of this is in the stat that his 7 tackles on Saturday were the most of any PL player.

      I agree with the view Shelvey would offer some creativity, but the system requires a number 10 to be disciplined off the ball chasing it and making defenders and midfielders have no time on the ball.

      I doubt Rafa sees Shelvey as able to do that for him.

      • Jimblag23

        Interesting point. You may be right there.

      • ToonNL

        I’m with you shelvey’s too lazy and static for the role, whilst perez isn’t perfect, he’s more fitting, merino none of us know yet himself included.

        For me it always been the biggest problem position for the team since even before our last relegation apart from the holy trinity of colo saylor and willo. Perez can do a particular job in the right setup which Rafa seems to be doing

  • TwinFire

    Its just so great to have this kind of success story. Finally, a manager who knows a good player and can get him to this club – despite his relative low cost

  • GToon

    Unfortunately the deal for this bloke is about £3m. He’s worth loads more than that so I wouldn’t buy your kids a shirt with his name on……

  • fistsofsteel2

    …..by the way, Perez is far better than Shelvey. His workrate and running off the ball, creating space for others, fulfilling his defensive duties is excellent. He is a constant thorn in the oppositions side. Perez is a highly valuable team member and I find it astonishing that supporters don’t see that.

  • fistsofsteel2

    Surely our contract re: buying Merino is airtight, and he can’t go elsewhere for £30-40million without Newcastle getting a good amount of that. Or are our negotiators, legal team too dumb to make sure our option to buy him for £3million is secure.