The Mikel Merino transfer saga is almost at an end.
Newcastle United set to see the midfielder sign for Real Sociedad.
A relatively low £10m release clause was included in the player’s contract when signing permanently from Borussia Dortmund.
On Thursday afternoon Sky Sports have revealed that Real Sociedad have finally activated that release clause.
They add that a medical is imminent and should take place ‘by the weekend’, with the 22 year old now set to miss his return to pre-season at Newcastle on Friday.
Real Sociedad boss Asier Garitano said (see below) a week ago that he expected the transfer to happen shortly and Mikel Merino will soon be part of his squad.
Keith Downie from Sky Sports:
“Mikel Merino is on the verge of return to Spain with Real Sociedad.
“We understand the La Liga side have activated the midfielder’s £10m release clause and he’ll have a medical by the weekend.”
Can’t blame the player if it simply a case of wanting first team football, a shame though for Newcastle fans who won’t now see whether he could fulfil the potential he showed in the first few months of his time at St James Park.
A lot of other players would have been preferable to see going out of the door but hopefully at least this Merino departure will help in some way towards Rafa landing his summer targets.
The Mag – 28 June 2018:
Asir Garitano has been asked when he expects to have Mikel Merino as part of his squad.
Appointed in May, the new Real Sociedad boss was quizzed on Spanish radio about the Newcastle United midfielder.
Garitano says that he doesn’t think the deal has been signed off just yet – but expects confirmation soon.
The new Real Sociedad manager did an astonishing job at minnows Leganes, taking them from the Spanish third tier to La Liga in his five years at the club.
He says he knows Mikel Merino well, his club having competed against the Newcastle player when he was at Osasuna.
They competed against each other in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons, both clubs promoted at the end of that latter season.
Whilst Leganes are still in La Liga, Osasuna went straight back down with Merino having joined Borussia Dortmund after that promotion was secured in May 2016.
It is expected that with the deal imminent, the Spanish Under 21 star won’t be returning on Monday for pre-season at Newcastle’s training ground.
A case of what might have been?
Real Sociedad said to be ready to pay the £10.5m release clause in the player’s contract.
Asier Garitano speaking to Radio Euskadi:
“I think that it still has not been finalised (yet).
“Mikel Merino is someone that I have known for many years, when we played against Osasuna, with Leganes in the Segunda (second tier).
“It could be a good signing for us.
“He’s been at important clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United, and at the age of 21 (Merino recently turned 22), he has a great future ahead of him.
“We hope that it can be completed (shortly).”