Newcastle United transfer news: Mikel Merino to have Real Sociedad medical after LaLiga side activate his release clause

5 Jul

Mikel Merino is close to ending his one-season stay at Newcastle after Real Sociedad activated a release clause in his contract, it is understood.

The 22-year-old midfielder is set to head back to his native Spain less than eight months after signing a five-year contract at St James’ Park, with a medical imminent.

Merino has made 25 appearances and scored one goal for the Magpies

Merino has grown unsettled after injury and the form of Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame left him sitting on the bench for much of the second half of last season.

Manager Rafael Benitez was delighted to have captured the player from Borussia Dortmund last summer, initially on a season-long loan deal, and the club’s fans warmed to him instantly as he made a fine start to his career on Tyneside.

However, there has been speculation for several months that the Spain Under-21 international was unhappy at his lack of action and would seek a move during the close season with Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Real Betis having also monitored his situation.

His departure has seemed inevitable since it emerged that there was a release clause, understood to be in the region of £10million, in his contract, and the arrival of South Korea international Ki Sung-yueng last week paved the way for his exit.

Merino’s Newcastle career started so well but tailed off during the second half of the season

Merino has made 25 appearances and scored one goal for the Magpies, a late Premier League winner against Crystal Palace in October.

Newcastle continue to work on their own transfer targets, with Nice striker Alassane Plea, Chelsea winger Kenedy and Palace midfielder Andros Townsend among them, although Benitez knows he will need to raise cash from sales if he is to have the spending power he wants this summer.

For that reason, the club has given relegated Stoke a price for Scotland international Matt Ritchie, who is also being tracked by Middlesbrough and Bournemouth, but it is understood none of his suitors have come anywhere near matching the £15million the Magpies believe he is worth.

Real Sociedad close in on signing of Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino

2 Jul

Real Sociedad are close to wrapping up a deal for Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino.

The 22-year-old moved to St. James’ Park last summer on loan from Borussia Dortmund.

Merino began his professional career in Spain with Osasuna

The Spaniard impressed at Newcastle and by October he had joined them permanently after completing a set number of appearances.

Merino is now ready to leave England already though and, according to El Mundo Deportivo, return to his native Spain.

Real Sociedad are in pole position to sign the midfielder and they are willing to part with around £10m to do so.

Merino has experience of playing in Spain, having come through Osasuna’s academy before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2016.

Real Sociedad confident of sealing deal for Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino

28 Jun

Real Sociedad are confident they will prise midfielder Mikel Merino from Newcastle’s grasp after just one season on Tyneside.

The Spaniard, who turned 22 last week, has been persistently linked with a move back to his native country in recent months with Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Real Betis all having been credited with an interest in him.

Merino began his professional career in Spain with Osasuna

However, Sociedad appear to have stolen a march in the race to activate a release clause in his contract which could see him leave for a little more than £10million.

Asked if he had landed his target, head coach head coach Asier Garitano told Radio Euskadi: “Until it becomes official, no, and I think it still has not been finalised.

“He’s someone I’ve known for many years, when we played against Osasuna with Leganes in the Segunda Division.

“It could be a good signing for us. He has been at important clubs like Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle and he has a great future ahead of him. We hope it can be completed.”

Merino’s exit would come as a blow to both Magpies boss Rafael Benitez and fans who were hugely impressed by his early displays for the club.

He spent one year in Germany before moving to St James’ Park

He arrived from German side Borussia Dortmund in July last year, initially on a season-long loan deal.

Merino started so well that Newcastle exercised an option to make the transfer permanent and handed him a five-year contract just three months later.

However, injury and the form of Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame saw him limited to just seven league appearances and only two starts after the turn of the year.

The 22-year-old lost his place at the back end of the 2017/18 season

Benitez rates the player highly and wants to keep him but, given the clause in his contract, he will have little option but to let him go should Sociedad stump up the cash.

The Magpies boss has only made one permanent signing this summer – keeper Martin Dubravka, who excelled on loan during the second half of last season – as he attempts to improve on a 10th-placed Premier League finish.

Sevilla want to sign Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino as replacement for Arsenal target Ever Banega

22 Jun

Sevilla have become the fourth Spanish club to target Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino ahead of a potential summer swoop.

As has been previously reported, Athletic Bilbao, Real Betis and Real Sociedad all want to lure the former-Osasuna man back to Spain this summer.

Merino made just 14 Premier League appearances last season

And now El Diario Vasco has revealed that Sevilla have joined the race with the future of central midfielder Ever Banega currently unclear.

Banega, the Argentina international, has been linked with a switch to Arsenal, to link up with former Sevilla manager Unai Emery.

Merino, 22, only arrived on Tyneside from Borussia Dortmund a year ago, originally on loan before his transfer was made permanent, but he started just 14 Premier League games.

Sevilla want Merino to replace Arsenal target Banega

He is expected to leave St James’ Park while the summerwindow is open, and it looks almost certain that he will be heading back to his homeland.