We are likely to see a lot of news coming out of Spain this summer linking Mikel Merino with Athletic Bilbao, who were one of the clubs after him last summer.
Newcastle took Merino initially on loan and signed him permanently from Borussia Dortmund in late summer.
The Spanish club were after him again in January and the reports at that time were that they will be after him in the summer too.
But the Spanish journalists covering the story didn’t expect Bilbao to be successful signing Merino in the summer either.
Mikel Merino – in action against Manchester City
Merino had a terrific start to his Newcastle career, but since his back injury, he hasn’t had the same amount of playing time at Newcastle.
But he is still one of Spain’s top young players expected to make the breakthrough to the full Spanish side.
That’s one reason he will remain in the news in Spain.
While Mikel may be a little frustrated at Newcastle, he has a long career ahead of him.
He is also being coached by his compatriot Rafa Benitez – one of the best managers in the business.
Mikel seems a sensible lad, and it’s only the excellent form of Shelvey and Diame keeping him out of the side.
Rafa’s advice to Mikel has been to work harder in training, and he will get a chance again this season.
There’s news in Teamtalk today that he’s unsettled at Newcastle, but we don’t believe that’s the case.
Rafa was delighted when he signed him last summer; he was a player the manager had followed through the Spain Youth sides, and he is now a star and captain at the U21 level.
Merino is one of Newcastle’s players of the future and we cannot believe that Rafa would be willing to let him go this summer.
What do you think?