Rafa Benitez is reportedly unwilling to part with Mikel Merino unless a replacement is signed by Newcastle.
Merino is the subject of interest from La Liga with clubs including Real Betis, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad looking to sign the Spanish U-21 international this summer.
It is believed that a fee of around £10m should be enough to sign Merino, although he would be happy to remain on Tyneside if given the opportunity.
AS have reported that both Real Sociedad and Real Betis have already made moves for Merino with Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay holding talks with the Tyneside club about a potential transfer. According to the report, the midfielder has been offered personal terms and a five-year contract.
Merino joined Newcastle from Borussia Dortmund in July 2017 on a season long loan with the Magpies activating a clause in the loan to buy the Spaniard midway through the campaign. He has since struggled for regular playing time with Benitez preferring the midfield pairing of Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey.
Newcastle have been linked with moves for a number of midfielders to challenge the pair this summer. Juventus midfielder Stefano Sturaro and Swansea City’s Roque Mesa are names frequently mentioned while Croatian international Lovro Majer has also been linked.
Benitez is having to deal with a significantly reduced budget this summer, looking for players and at a reduced price that would improve his squad.
One player seemingly on his way out of Newcastle is Jack Colback, who spent last season on loan at Nottingham Forest. Forest are interested in signing the midfielder on a permanent deal with his move raising funds for any potential incomings to St. James’ Park.