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Forget Livermore: Steve Bruce should target Newcastle’s £9m-rated midfielder this summer

The Aston Villa fans were drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern last weekend after their side suffered a 3-1 defeat against Norwich City at Carrow Road. 

Steve Bruce’s side have been struggling for form in recent weeks, and their recent woes continued last weekend in East Anglia as they were comfortably beaten by the Canaries on match-day 41. The result left Villa 8 points adrift of 2nd place Cardiff and 8 points ahead of 7th place Millwall, so there’s little room for a drastic change in their circumstances with just 5 fixtures left to play.

However, Jack Grealish’s late winner on Tuesday night against Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds sparked life into Steve Bruce’s hopes and at least moved to stop the rot setting in up at Villa Park.

Still, barring an extraordinary set of results in the Championship, Villa will be in the play-offs at the end of the season, and it seems they have already begun planning for a potential season in the Premier League during the next campaign. According to reports in The Daily Mail, Villa are interested in signing Jake Livermore from their local-rivals West Bromwich Albion this summer if they manage to clinch promotion back into the top-flight.

A deal for Livermore would undoubtedly be a step in the right direction for the club, but there is reason to suggest they should divert their attention away from the England hopeful and towards Newcastle United outcast Mikel Merino (valued at £9 million by Transfermarkt). The 21-year-old midfielder is a technically gifted central-midfielder who rapidly became a fan-favourite at St James’ Park at the beginning of his Newcastle career.

He initially arrived on a temporary loan deal from Borussia Dortmund, but his impressive performances earned him a permanent contract with the club in the early stages of the season. However, he has found himself playing nothing more than a bit-part role at the club in recent months due to the consistent performances of Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame in midfield.

Considering the high standard of performance Merino displayed earlier in the season, there is no doubt that he should seek a transfer in the summer window to a club where his development will be positively served. Villa would be an ideal destination for the Spaniard if they manage to achieve promotion this season as he should have the quality to move above the likes of Birkir Bjarnason and Conor Hourihane in Bruce’s pecking order, so Villa should at least be making an enquiry into his availability this summer.

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Article title: Forget Livermore: Steve Bruce should target Newcastle’s £9m-rated midfielder this summer

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