It increasingly looks as though Mikel Merino will be making a return to Spanish football this summer.
The Spanish media are giving the potential move almost daily coverage and on this one, it is difficult to believe there is not substance to a likely transfer.
Mikel Merino only made two league starts for Borussia Dortmund in 2016/17 and came to Newcastle, initially on loan, in order to get more regular football.
However, the Spanish Under 21 international made only 14 Premier League starts in the end, with only a single one after January.
Yes he did have injury problems but reality is that he was on the bench throughout most of February, March, April and May, and apart from the sole start at Liverpool, Merino only played 33 minutes off the bench after January.
From the start, the Spanish media have claimed that three clubs are chasing the midfielder: Real Betis, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.
It has increasingly been Real Sociedad and Real Betis as time has gone on and now Spanish newspaper AS claim that Real Sociedad are set to fly to England to try and get the transfer finalised.
Mikel Merino turns 22 tomorrow (Friday) and AS say that the club’s President, Jokin Aperribay, will travel with his entourage and hopes to get a transfer completed, with a fee of around 12m euros (approx £10.5m) believed to be proposed.
That would represent a small profit for Newcastle after spending £9.2m in total (£2.7m loan fee and then £6.5m permanent transfer fee) but having seen glimpses of real quality from Merino, it would be a bitter blow for Newcastle fans who have seen the potential of somebody who could turn out to be a very good player.
Personal terms are claimed not to be a problem and a five year contract and release clause of around £35m to be included in the contract, such a high amount (or even higher) is the norm in many transfers/contracts on the continent, protection in case a player progresses and their value soars far higher.