Mikel Merino has bid farewell to Newcastle United as he prepares himself for life in La Liga with Real Sociedad. The Spaniard completed all formalities with Real Sociedad as the £10m man looks to rejuvenate his career at the Anoeta Stadium.
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez was quick to give his view of the transfer. “It was a pity because obviously, he wanted to play more football. He’s a young player, and he struggled to get back into the team because Diame and Shelvey were doing so well. That meant Merino didn’t get much game time, then we had three or four Spanish clubs who were interested in him. In the end, it was something we couldn’t control because he decided to go.”
Real Sociedad manager Asier Garitano looks to better his team’s performances and the addition of Merino will help him achieve that. The 22-year-old midfielder has had experience of playing in Germany with Borussia Dortmund and in England so he will be expected to add a bit of extra knowledge into the minds of his dressing room peers. Sociedad had a run of the mill season in the last campaign and look to better themselves next season and perhaps push for a spot in the Europa league.
Mikel is a young player who has the potential to make a big name for himself as a professional footballer. The left-footed midfielder can slot in anywhere at the centre of the field and has a good passing range on him. He can be tricky with his feet if the situation calls for it, which allows him to get himself out of trouble.
Newcastle can look at the loss of Mikel as a setback as the Spaniard is someone who has the potential to become a vital player for whichever team he is picked to start in. The Magpies failed to give Mikel more game time which might have led to the Spaniard pushing for a move away from the club. Newcastle have found a replacement in Ki Sung Yueng, the South Korean midfielder who joined from Swansea City on a free transfer.
Benitez spoke about the addition of Ki to the team. “He will bring experience. He has experience in the Premier League, he has quality. Mikel was a young player with great potential, but now we have a player who has been there before.”
Newcastle United kick-start their season by welcoming Tottenham Hotspur to St. James Park on the 11th of August. Perhaps Mikel will tune in to watch the Magpies carry on with life without him.