In a recent report from Birmingham Live, it was mentioned that Aston Villa would love to make a move for Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad in the January transfer window. Unai Emery has been heavily linked with several players from the Spanish market and Merino seems a decent fit for the West Midlands club.
Merino’s Campaign With Real Sociedad This Season
Merino is enjoying a solid campaign at Reale Arena and has managed to perform at a high level for them in the middle of the park. The 26-year-old has scored one goal and grabbed six assists in 19 matches for the Spanish outfit this season across multiple competitions.
The Spanish talent has been a reliable performer for his side based on his average of 1.7 shots, 2.4 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 2.3 clearances and 1.4 key passes per game in La Liga.
He has even been tidy with his ball distribution after making 77% of his attempted passes in the Spanish top tier (stats via whoscored).
Is Merino An Ideal Addition To Unai Emery’s Aston Villa?
Merino has a solid presence in the central areas as he can make life tough for the opposition at the centre of the park. Standing at 1.88 meters, he can dominate his opponents in the air and isn’t afraid of putting his foot into a tackle. To add to that, he can time his challenges well to secure possession back for his team.
Furthermore, he has got the vision for creating some decent chances for his teammates in front of the goal. However, he needs to work on his ball distribution if he wants to compete at a high level. The Spaniard mainly operates as a holding midfielder sitting deep but can also serve as a box-to-box midfielder if required.
At 26, Merino has got his best years ahead of him and could grow into a world-class footballer under Unai Emery at Villa Park. The Villa boss could make an offer in January to get his signature without having to splash a huge sum. Merino could pair up with Douglas Luiz in the centre of the park as he brings more quality and creativity into Emery’s midfield department should he arrive at Aston Villa in January.