Merino originally joined the Magpies on loan last summer from Borussia Dortmund, before the deal was made permanent in October.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a fine campaign at St James’ Park last time out, making 24 Premier League appearances, as Rafa Benitez’s side secured an impressive 10th place league finish.
Sharing the creative burden in the team with Jonjo Shelvey, Merino was a big part of Newcastle’s game going forward as he was tasked with constructing attacks from his deep-lying midfield base.
Merino will certainly need replacing in the Newcastle squad this summer. Ki has been brought in on a free transfer from Swansea, but the South Korean is not of Merino’s quality and is more likely a preemptive replacement for Isaac Hayden’s squad place given how much the Englishman struggled for top flight game time last season.
Rafa Benitez will be considering his options already and looking to some of the potentially available names in the transfer market who could come in and fill the boots of the departed Spaniard.
The 27-year-old deep-lying midfielder brings the ideal combination of defensive awareness and creativity to replace Merino at Newcastle.
The Germany international is valued at £10.8 million by Transfermarkt, and would be a fantastic capture for the north east club.
Having spent the past two seasons in his second spell with Borussia Monchengladbach, at this stage of his career, Kramer may be open to trying his hand at playing football overseas. Newcastle would be wise to offer the talented midfield operator that opportunity.
A World Cup winner, he’d certainly be a coup at St. James’ Park.