The Breakdown

Merino replacement: It’s time for Ashley to splash the cash for Newcastle on England man

Rafa Benitez has returned to Newcastle to discuss the summer transfers for the club and Newcastle fans are beginning to get anxious over who the club will sign this window. 

It’s been a mixed bag so far Newcastle in the transfer window. While they’ve signed Martin Dubravka on a permanent deal after a successful loan spell, the club look to have lost Spanish midfielder, Mikel Merino to Real Sociedad after reportedly activating the midfielder’s £10.5 million. The Spaniard was a fan favourite and will be a loss for Rafael Benitez who reportedly wanted a replacement in before allowing Merino to leave.

Having started the season strongly, Merino only made eight starts in the league in the second-half of the season – according to Transfermarkt – due to injuries. The man who should replace the Spaniard for the Magpies in midfield, is Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Although the England international isn’t a like for like replacement, Loftus-Cheek is capable of playing from a deeper role. He usually occupies a role going further forward but such is the talent of the young midfielder, he can play in multiple areas.

Where Merino and Loftus-Cheek are similar, is their ability to take the ball from defenders in tight areas. Loftus-Cheek, however is much more adept at taking the ball forward which would balance well with Shelvey’s tendency to distribute from deep.

Furthermore, the 22-year-old has confirmed that he is eager to play next season although that is likely to result in another loan away from Chelsea rather than a permanent move.

If Benitez can get Loftus-Cheek, even on a loan, he could have an absolute bargain on his hands.

Newcastle fans – what do you think?

Let us know below. 

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