Newcastle United supporters have been pretty satisfied in the Transfer Tavern in the last few weeks after seeing their side suffer just one defeat in their last six Premier League games to move clear of the relegation zone.
Rafa Benitez’s men were just two points clear of danger following their 3-1 defeat to Manchester City back in January, but they have since then won two and drawn three of their succeeding six games to move up to 13th place in the table. The Magpies produced an outstanding display to beat Manchester United 1-0 at St James’ Park last month, and they made it back-to-back successes in the North East in their last league outing by comfortably dispatching fellow relegation candidates Southampton 3-0, a result which moved them five points clear of the bottom three with only eight matches of the campaign remaining.
Subsequently, there have been many thrilled Newcastle fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are sincerely hoping that their side can continue their fine form between now and the end of the season, which would thus see them preserve their Premier League status.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Magpies supporters to get their teeth into, not least recent reports linking midfielder Mikel Merino with a move to Athletic Bilbao.
And despite only sealing a permanent deal for the 21-year-old in October, the Magpies should seriously consider cashing in on the £9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) come the summer.
Ultimately, the Spain Under-21 international made a fine start to life at St James’ Park, nailing down a spot in Benitez’s first team immediately after making the loan move from Borussia Dortmund, to the point that a permanent move was sealed less than two months later.
However, the midfielder has failed to re-discover his early season form after returning from a back problem he had in November, and has subsequently fallen down the pecking order at the North East giants in starting just two of their last nine Premier League games.
And his first teams struggles in recent times aren’t just down to his own lack of form, but also the fine efforts of the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, and Mo Diame, the latter in particular whose form has improved drastically in the last few months.
Thus, it’s difficult to see Merino returning to Benitez’s starting eleven ahead of the aforementioned trio, and with the Magpies seeking to move to the next level next season, further reinforcements may well be sought in that department, in turn pushing the 21-year-old even further down the pecking order.
As such, Benitez and the club’s hierarchy may well look to cash in on the Spaniard during the close season.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!