Former Newcastle United midfielder eyed by Barcelona – report

Former Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino is a reported summer target for La Liga giants Barcelona.

By Liam Kennedy
Sunday, 23 June, 2019, 17:26
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 20: Luis Suarez of Barcelona and Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad clash during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on April 20, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

According to a report in Spanish publication Sport, Merino has a release clause in his Real Sociedad deal, that has alerted Barca, who are thought to be keen to find a stand-in for Sergio Busquets.

Merino left United last summer after just one season at St James’s Park to return to La Liga.

And the 23-year-old has impressed during his campaign in the Basque country, with Barca reportedly exploring the option of triggering his £40million release clause.

Merino was signed from Borussia Dortmund for just £8million after a succesful loan spell.

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But, as he has in his current Sociedad deal, Merino had a break clause inserted, with the Magpies getting just £12million for the player.

The report in Sport claims Barca tried to sign Merino before he left Osasuna for Dortmund, but “weren’t able to get a deal done”.

It is not known if United will receive any sell-on fee.