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.