Mikel Merino 'could be out for EIGHT weeks' at Newcastle
Mikel Merino is facing an extended spell on the sidelines at Newcastle United, according to a report in Spain.
Merino has missed the club's last two games with a back problem.
The Gazette reported last week that the midfielder wasn't expected to return until next month.
Manager Rafa Benitez, preparing for the club's November 18 game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, has been more guarded in terms of a timescale for the 21-year-old's return.
Speaking this week, Benitez again said Merino would be out for "at least two weeks".
However, Spanish publication Diario AS have gone further and claimed that Merino will be out for "six to eight weeks".
It is reported that the Spain Under-21 international is having "problems with a vertebrae".
Meanwhile, Newcastle winger Christian Atsu, forced off against Bournemouth at the weekend, is being assessed by Ghana's medical staff after picking up a "thigh complaint" in training.
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