The Newcastle fans in the Transfer Tavern have been reacting to news surrounding their 21-year-old Spaniard, Mikel Merino. A story in from TEAMtalk suggested the midfielder had informed Rafa Benitez of his desire to leave St. James’ Park after failing to settle despite his good start to life there.
Mikel Merino swapped Signal Iduna Park for St James Park on loan initially last summer, but in October the Spaniard triggered a clause in his loan contract after making a certain amount of appearances that made him a permanent addition to the Newcastle squad. Although just a few months later, after struggling with a back injury, the midfielder was being linked with a move away from the North East to Spain as Bilbao chased the midfielder.
The links from Bilbao remain strong as the Spanish club have a strict transfer policy that only allows them to sign players of Basque origin. This policy greatly narrows the pool of players that the club is able to employ and Mikel Merino was the most qualified in that pool. Considering the midfielders short time in the Premier League he’s already done enough to impress Rafa Benitez of his qualities and at the age of just 21, it seems the midfielder has got a big future, be it at St James Park or not.
You can read our resident Geordies verdict on Merino here:
The truth about Mikel Merino is he got a bad injury to his back, spent a lengthy time out, Diame came in and worked his socks off now Merino is 100% fit and needs to work his way back in, end of story. #NUFC
— Mr Batistuta (@Angel_Batistuta) April 3, 2018
Something not sitting right with me regarding these Merino rumours. Spanish media implying that he has effectively given up already.
This back injury has set him back badly, he doesn't look like the same player, but would be gutted to lose such a talent so soon #NUFC
— Hello, I am Nicky and I am not a sheep (@ORANGEYPURPLE) April 3, 2018
Bilbao have a large interest due to only being able to sign Basque-origin players and Merino would be one of the highest profiles they currently see available. Athletic have plenty of cash to spend following the £57m sale of Aymeric Laporte to Man City. #NUFC
— NUFC HQ (@NUFC_HQ) April 3, 2018
Mikel Merino is an interesting one at Newcastle. Can't fault his attitude but after starting off great at the start of the season he's went away with a whimper. Hasn't took his chances when playing & we all know how ruthless Rafa can be #NUFC
— Lee Embleton (@embleton01) April 3, 2018
Bilbao got lotta money. They will try to sign him this summer. Can be replaced
— Leuz Salline (@Asallsince1993) April 3, 2018
“Merino has told Benitez his desire to leave”
Aye, of course he has, even though two weeks ago he said he was happy here and wanted to achieve his international dreams here. https://t.co/Mczd0DeM6f
— CompleteNUFC (@CompleteNUFC) 3 April 2018