Mikel Merino continues to be a big story over in Spain.
The possibility of a player choosing to move back over there from the Premier League is always going to make headlines.
Three clubs have been consistently linked with the 21 year old (Turns 22 on Friday) and they are Real Betis, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad.
Whilst the player himself has indicated (see below) in interviews that he is happy to stay at Newcastle, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see him leave if a club offers a decent price, which would then allow the ambitious Mikel Merino the chance of regular football.
According to the Spanish media, two of those three interested clubs have now made a move.
AS have reported that Jokin Aperribay, Real Sociedad’s President, has held talks with Newcastle United after flying to Tyneside to discuss a Merino transfer. The midfielder having been offered personal terms on a five year contract according to the report.
Meanwhile, Real Betis are said to be ‘awaiting a response’ from Newcastle United after making their approach for the Spanish Under 21 international.
Whilst in our recent poll 84% of Newcastle fans said they hoped Mikel Merino would still be at St James Park next season, there is also a feeling that players might need to move out to help Rafa Benitez land his own targets.
However, if Merino did leave then surely Newcastle would have to buy a replacement anyway, as it would only leave them with Isaac Hayden, who disappointed last season, as cover for Shelvey and Diame.
The Mag – 1 June 2018:
Mikel Merino talking to official club site:
“I’ll try to improve myself, I’ll try to play more minutes, to be an important part of the team and an important player.
“I want to increase my offensive skills, try to make more goals, try to be more confident with ball and try to make my teammates play better.
“In the summer I will work on my less strong things, like using more of the right foot and things like that, and in the pre-season I’ll try to improve myself even more and start the season at a high level.
“It has been a big season for me. It was my first season as a professional player in the highest division and, for me, I’ve learned a lot.
“I’m happy because I’ve been in a really good group with really good players, learning in arguably the best league in the world, and I think I’ve got a lot more things to improve. But it’s been a very good first year for me.
“When you play against the best players in the world, at this level, where every single thing and every single mistake counts, you learn a lot.
“The pace, the tempo and the intensity is amazing, and with those minutes you play you learn a lot.
“I think it’s going to be a really good season next season, and in the future.”