Rafa Benitez has shed some light on how Mikel Merino was able to force a move away from Newcastle this summer.
Rafa said the player and his agents demanded a release clause in his contract in case he was not getting the playing time he wanted at Newcastle he could move on.
Mikel is anxious to keep playing so he can improve his game but we are sorry to see the lad leave to join Real Sociedad – although that deal has not yet been announced.
Mikel Merino – in action for Newcastle last season
Rafa knew Mikel was going to leave, so he lined up free agent Ki Sung-yueng as a replacement – a great move by the club.
This is what Benitez said in the Chronicle today of Merino’s departure:
“It was a pity because obviously, he wanted to play more football.”
“He is a young player and he struggled to get back into the team because Mo Diame and Jonjo 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. We knew that could happen, so we had to be prepared – and in the end we were.”
Rafa and Newcastle were prepared because on July 1st we signed Ki Sung-yueng who is the replacement for Mikel and has already played at Swansea with Shelvey and they made an excellent partnership in central midfield.
But Ki will have to play well to break into the starting line-up with Mo Diame in such terrific form for us this year – he looks a player reborn under Rafa Benitez
Benitez continued talking about Ki:
“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,”
“When we first signed Mikel, people forget that the reason we got him from Borussia Dortmund was because he had this condition too.”
“He had a release clause which he could use if he was not playing as much as he wanted.”
“In this case we did that, he was playing really well for us, and I was really pleased with him at the beginning of the season.”
“After he had the injury, when he went two months without playing, he played less, and after that Jonjo and Diame did really well.”
“But that is football – and we move on.”
We move on indeed, and that’s one of the many strong characteristics we’ve noticed about Rafa – he doesn’t dwell on things.
Mikel wanted to leave and there’s not much anybody can do if the lad didn’t want to be at Newcastle – for whatever reason.
Wonder what’s going on with Kenedy?