With a lack of games in the second half of last season and a lack of ambition being shown by NUFC, Mikel Merino pushed for a transfer from Newcastle United this summer.
Real Sociedad eventually signing the promising 22 year old after they met his £10m release clause.
Having only a fraction of outgoing sales to play with, Rafa Benitez was forced to shop for bargains.
In the end 29 year old free transfer Ki Sung-yueng arriving as a replacement for the Spaniard.
Newcastle fans are yet to see the South Korean in competitive action as he has remained on the bench for the two opening Premier League fixtures so far.
However, Real Sociedad fans got their first sighting on Saturday night of Mikel Merino.
The Spanish Under 21 international started as they faced a tough opening fixture, away at Villarreal who finished 5th last season (Real Sociedad 12th).
Merino almost had a dream debut as he struck the post in the ninth minute and then when the home side took the lead seven minutes later, it looked likely to be a poor opening day of the season.
— Real Sociedad (@RealSociedadEN) August 18, 2018
With the former Newcastle midfielder’s help though they turned it around, William Jose scoring on 40 minutes and then Juanmi getting the winner on 71 minutes.
Mikel Merino lasted 59 minutes (he missed part of pre-season through injury) before being replaced by Zurutuza, with the Spanish media praising his contribution to the victory.
Whether or not Merino proves to be one that got away from Newcastle will be interesting to see.