Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino could be on his way out of St James’ Park this summer, with a trio of La Liga clubs reportedly interested in securing his services.
The 21-year-old only joined the Magpies last season, originally on a season-long loan deal from Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund. The deal was made permanent in October, as Merino signed a five-year deal, but it seems his short tenure on Tyneside could be coming to an end.
A report in the Spanish publication AS has suggested that Merino is being chased by Athletic Bilbao, Real Betis and Real Sociedad – with a rumoured €15m fee reportedly in the offing.
Merino is said to be keen on a move back to his homeland, having failed to establish himself as a first-team regular under Rafa Benitez. Although the Spanish boss would prefer to keep Merino at St James’ Park, it seems as though Newcastle will negotiate a deal in order to free up transfer funds.
Benitez only paid around €8m to secure Merino on a permanent basis, but is keen to make a hefty profit, given that he has so much time left on his current contract.
Merino does not have a particular preference of where he goes, but is said to be keen on moving to a club where he is guaranteed first-team football – something which may not be guaranteed to him in the short-term.
A return to La Liga seems inevitable though for a player who originally started his career at Osasuna, where he made 67 league appearances before moving to Germany in 2016.