Newcastle United could be forced to part ways with their Spanish midfielder Mikel Merino this summer amidst speculation linking him with a move to Real Sociedad. According to recent reports, the Magpies youngster could be on his way out of Tyneside with the La Liga outfit prepared to trigger his release clause.
The Spaniard was signed by Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez from Borussia Dortmund last summer on a season-long loan deal. The 22-year-old had put in a number of impressive displays during the course of last season which has not gone unnoticed by other clubs. The Magpies had taken the option to make his transfer permanent this summer but it now looks like he is set for a switch to Real Sociedad with the Spanish team eager to seal a move for him by matching the buy-out clause in his contract.
Merino had made 25 appearances for the Tynesiders last term, scoring one goal while grabbing one assist in all competitions. Benitez should do everything in his power to convince the player to stay as he could be a future star in English football. However, the fact that Sociedad are willing to match his release clause makes it a difficult situation for the Magpies as they are helpless to stop the player from leaving the club.
The Magpies had a mediocre campaign last season and got dragged into the relegation dogfight earlier this year. However, they still managed to clinch a top-half finish in the English top-flight. Benitez’s side can’t afford to let go of their most talented players as it will significantly deplete their squad ahead of the new campaign.
Although, the Tynesiders could look to use the money generated from his potential sale to strengthen other areas of their squad, yet it should just be a fall-back option for them. Benitez needs to devise a transfer strategy for the departure of Merino and work accordingly. If Newcastle does end up parting ways with the Spanish midfielder, then they would be required to bring in a suitable replacement who will be capable enough to bolster their midfield significantly.
Merino should definitely look to extend his stay at St. James’ Park and opt against a move out of England this summer as he is already getting regular game time under Benitez which might help him develop into a top-class player in the coming years. It remains to be seen what lies ahead in the future of the Spaniard and whether he ends up parting ways with the Magpies this summer.