Newcastle fans have been celebrating the early form of Mikel Merino

Despite having previously only started two top flight matches in any country, the 21 year old has eased seamlessly into the Premier League, and been one of Newcastle’s best players as six points have been gathered against West Ham and Swansea.

However, a bit like a lottery winner who suddenly wonders where he put his ticket, Newcastle fans are worrying now as to exactly what was the deal when the Spaniard was signed in late July.

Well firstly, be rest assured, there is a binding permanent deal if a certain number of matches are played in his loan spell.

On the day of the deal, Borussia Dortmund confirmed (see below) that ‘a binding purchase option was agreed’ if ‘the player features in a certain number of competitive matches’.

As to how many games, that isn’t as clear.

Initial reports from Germany suggested it was very similar to Florian Thauvin’s move to Marseille.

A loan deal with only a nominal number of games needing to be played (in Thauvin’s case it was three) before a permanent deal would be ensured at the end of the season. The idea presumably being that you the selling club is getting the cash and the buying club is getting the player, but they don’t have to pay the money until the following summer.

That would certainly seem to be a good fit for Newcastle, with Mike Ashley refusing to allow any of the PL cash due this season to be spent in advance, so the £2.7m loan fee up front, then another £6.5m in summer 2018 to complete the deal, when the actual cash was in Newcastle’s bank from this season – would look a likely deal to have happened.

Later media claims from Germany suggested that the actual number of games was 20 before a permanent deal was triggered. Looking set for a long run in the side, only injury would appear to stand in the way of any permanent move not being sealed.

The Mag – 28 July 2017:

Borussia Dortmund Official Statement:

‘Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mikel Merino, 21, is set to complete a loan switch to newly-promoted Premier League outfit Newcastle United.

A binding purchase option was agreed with the English club for the event that the player features in a certain number of competitive matches.

The Spain U21 international joined Borussia Dortmund from CA Osasuna one year ago and made nine Bundesliga and DFB Cup appearances in his debut season in Germany.

“Mikel was not getting the playing time that he had hoped for given the range of high-quality options we have in the midfield positions. We have therefore agreed to his wish and wish him all the very best for the coming season in England,” said BVB Sporting Director Michael Zorc.’

The Mag – 1 August 2017:

Nevertheless, the Chronicle have revealed that Dortmund have recouped pretty much all of that transfer fee paid to Osasuna, with Newcastle paying £2.7m just to loan the 21 year old for this upcoming season.

They further confirm that Newcastle are obliged to pay another £6.5m if Merino plays a specified number of games for United.

This would make a total of £9.2m to be paid if everything works out.

Not a bad little deal for the German club, guaranteed to get their initial investment back and the possibility of more than tripling their original outlay, all for a player they only gave two games to.

As for how many matches the midfielder will need to play to trigger the deal, initial reports had suggested that it could be a similar deal to the one that saw Florian Thauvin move to Marseille.

He had a year loan but it was only a nominal, three appearances to make the move permanent and for Newcastle to receive £10m this summer.

However, reports in Germany claim that it is 20 appearances that will ensure Newcastle pay £6.5m extra next summer to buy the player.

  • Trevor Reaveley

    So if Merino suddenly stops playing, we know he’s one match away from triggering the deal and Mr Mike’s getting cold feet.

    • mactoon

      you beat me to it :)

      • TheFatController

        No, he’ll be playing him whilst writing up the sale contract to Madrid …

        • mentalman

          if MA gets involved it’ll be to tell rafa to make sure he reaches the required number of games

  • Jimblag23

    Well let’s get him signed up permanently asap, he was definitely motm yesterday. (Even though Lascelles did amazingly in those 2 moments)

  • Andy Mac

    To be fair its only Steve who’s worrying 😉

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Clarko will be along shortly with a definitive answer to reassure us,
    I don’t what we’d do without that Lad & his super computer.
    chances are he’s hacking the Pentagon & he’ll end up getting 25 to Life

    • csh

      With any luck…

    • Geordiegiants

      I have a feeling he has mental health issues. I’m not being nasty I genuinely think it, some of the conversations I’ve been having with him recently have been bizarre to say the least.

  • Steve Pearce

    Please do not even mention any connection between Merino and Thauvin. Merino can actually do the job we loaned him for – play football. Thauvin on the other hand was signed by a scout who had dementia and laboured under the delusion that he was Alan Shearer and Peter Beardsley rolled into one…

    • steve

      Thauvin was Marseille’s player of the year last season and recently picked up his first France cap, that McLaren totally mismanaged him wasn’t his fault or Carr’s

      • Steve Pearce

        I can understand that – The Great Minge Headed Idiot couldn’t even manage to make a cup of tea without suffering 3rd degree burns let alone managing professional footballers,,,,

    • NUFCDan

      Rafa would have made a Premier League player of him. He has the talent. However as I understand he was really homesick.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Thauvin was spoilt by wrong coaching setup and got homesick badly. Hes was quite young still and immature. As said though Rafa would have made a player of him just he was handled badly.

    • Humble

      Thauvan is a cracking little player it was his home sickness and idiotic toon supporters getting on his back they only gave him a couple of games a young lad coming from a different country into a new culture sometimes needs time to settle merino is different he’s already moved from Spain to Germany

  • Jonny waugh

    from what ive seen of merino 19.2 million would be a steal never mind 9.2 million, if he continues this form he will be worth 30-40 million this time next year, just oozes quality looks the real deal to me

  • magpiefifer

    Even Ashley isn’t stupid enough not to make sure the deal goes through – he’ll be slavering at the thought of the sell-on price!!

    • Jonny waugh

      yep, nail on the head

  • Burt Humperdink

    Could Merino himself scupper a deal by simply refusing to join the Toon. If so I would worry this could indeed happen as a decent season in the prem is likely to make even Dortmund want to keep him.

    • Nick Rainone

      If they’d agreed the deal it wouldn’t matter, it’s a contract so they are legally obligated to honor it. They obviously didn’t rate him enough and if he succeeds despite that it’s on them. They signed him away for nearly nothing in today’s money.

      • Burt Humperdink

        I get that Dortmund cannot stop it if we decide to option but all these contracts tend to mean is that we have first shot at buying the player at a set price. If the players decides he wants to play at Dortmund I suspect we cannot stop him.

        • Steesh

          There’ll be a pre-contract arrangement with the player which will become binding once the terms have been met, otherwise, yeah, a player could renege after a flying season and move to the highest bidder.

    • Andy Mac

      If you read the Independent article (sorry this site doesnt allow links) the first thing that impressed Merino (and his Mum) was that fans were welcoming him to the City and wishing him well even though he’d only signed the day before.

      Money helps make a players mind up but so does wanting to be loved ! OK he may move on at some point but he’s got a whole career (hopefully) ahead of him but not too many chances to work with the great man.

      • Geordiegiants

        Just like Rafa.

  • ghostrider

    I wouldn’t waste your energy worrying about whether Merino will sign or not.
    All we need to hope for is that he keeps up his general top play and gets better and better all through this season.
    If we are well safe at the end of the season and he wants to stay, then we tie him to a contract.
    If that doesn’t happen, then we’ll only know it at the end of the season, so let’s enjoy the lad while he’s doing the business for us and hopefully every time he plays.
    Save the worries for everything and anything when there’s a legitimate reason for one.
    Right now everything’s good.

  • Илья Иванов

    Just wondering.. If there is a 20 games conditions and the player is injured – can he just come off as a sub for 1-2 minutes to simply lie on a grass? :)

  • Rob Brown

    be rest assured?

    Big difference between 3 games and twenty.