Mikel Merino was a big hit with the Newcastle fans from the first sightings early this season.

Idiots/attention seekers such as Graeme Souness chose to slaughter the 21 year old, for the mistake he made on his first start that helped lead to Huddersfield’s winner.

However, supporters could see that this was potentially a top quality signing.

Sure enough, Mikel Merino was Newcastle’s best player as Rafa’s team then followed up with 10 points from the next 15, culminating in the draw against Liverpool.

Having begun to get wider recognition as the national media woke up, Merino was then confirmed as a permanent signing for Newcastle.

However, a back injury picked up in the Liverpool match has prevented the midfielder starting any of the four games since.

No coincidence then maybe that Newcastle have won only one of these four recent games and that was when Mikel Merino came off the bench to score the only goal against Palace – the last two games/defeats against Burnley and Bournemouth particularly disappointing in his absence.

The second-half on Saturday would surely have not ended up such a ragged shambles, if the young cool-headed Spaniard had been there to put his foot on the ball.

Rafa Benitez says that they will be monitoring Merino’s back injury over the course of this international break and Newcastle fans will be desperately hoping he is back as soon as possible.

The international break is also a time for both fans and media to get reflective on how things have gone so far.

The Mail have asked their football journalists a number of questions about the Premier League season so far, including ‘Who has been the best Premier League signing so far?’.

Whilst others have gone for the likes of Mohamed Salah, two have made an inspired selection:

Ian Herbert:

“Mikel Merino, the Newcastle loanee, whom Rafa Benitez has monitored through the Spain youth ranks, does not have the complete game.

“Pace is the one aspect lacking.

“But his vision and ability on the ball has enabled him – a mere 21-year-old new to the English game – to become the cog of a moderate team.”

Craig Hope:

“I will pick a player on my North-East patch as I’ve seen more of Newcastle than anyone else.

“Mikel Merino only cost around £6.5million from Borussia Dortmund but already team-mates are talking of him being good enough for Real Madrid or Barcelona.

“The Spain Under-21 midfielder is a class act – enjoy him in the Premier League while it lasts!”

  • Rich Lawson

    By a country mile,just get him to stay !

    • grantham mag

      He will be sold in the fat-mans January sale. £££££££££££s means profit.

  • Kneebotherm8

    We want the likes of him on an 8 year contract,not the Pardews Carr’s and Carvers.

  • TheNutJob

    Fatty will sell him if the price is right & give himself a Brucie bonus

  • Dillon Tovak

    Kind of a shame that he’s not slipping under the radar for a bit longer.

  • ghostrider

    For the price he is one hell of a signing. A real gem and can become top notch if he’s given the chance to show his real worth.
    His quality is there for all to see and I hope we get the Lions share of what he has to offer before he ever gets sold on.

  • Geordiegiants

    They said the same about Perez when he first came.