Monday afternoon has seen claims from Spain saying that Mikel Merino is going to ask Rafa Benitez to be allowed to leave St James Park.
Spanish newspaper Estadio Deportivo says that the Newcastle midfielder has told his ‘inner circle’ that he wants to move on again this summer.
His preferred destination is La Liga, having already played 67 times in the second tier with Osasuna as an 18 and 19 year old, he wants now the chance to play in the top tier.
The report says there is interest from Real Betis, Real Sociedad, and Athletic Bilbao, amongst others.
As well as wanting to play in La Liga, Estadio Deportivo say their information is that more than anything Mikel Merino is desperate for regular club football.
At Borussia Dortmund he only started two Bundesliga games after moving there in June 2016, then a still not great 14 starts for Newcastle in the Premier League.
Turning 22 in 11 days time, the ambitious midfielder understandably doesn’t fancy sitting things out on the bench once again, after January he only made one PL start for Newcastle.
Against the odds, after a poor season up that point, both Shelvey and Diame suddenly transformed into an excellent partnership for the last few months of the season.
Unless somebody comes in, it is very difficult to see Rafa Benitez starting with anybody else in the middle of the pitch when the new PL season kicks off.
Estadio Deportivo also report that there have been conversations going on behind the scenes, with Real Betis vice-president Serra Ferrer and Real Betis manager Quique Setien, having both already rang Mikel Merino to try and persuade him to join their club.