Mikel Merino has been one of Athletic Club’s top transfer target for over a year now and with good reason. The 20-year-old was arguably the best player in the Segunda last year and has been a force in the Spain U-21 team. Last summer, Osasuna rejected offers from Athletic and chose instead to sell the midfielder to Borussia Dortmund for a fee of €3.7 million which could rise to €5 million. One year later, Lions may be getting their second chance.
Merino’s first season in German definitely hasn’t gone according to plan. The midfielder has barely featured this season, starting only two games, and has often been left out of the squad entirely. His unhappiness has been well documented thus far and it seems to have finally reached the breaking point with BVB set to sign more players in his position this summer. According to a report from Javi Beltran of AS, Merino wants to leave Germany and return to Spain.
This report goes on to say that Merino is well aware of the interest from Athletic and that he would be interested in the move to Bilbao. He understands that he would play more minutes at the San Mames and could have a much more important role than he currently holds at BVB. With the player and Athletic both interested in the transfer, it makes the move much more likely to happen, especially if Merino pressed BVB to make it happen.
Athletic has already contacted the Germans regarding their interest in Merino but there has yet to be any concrete talks to this point. The two sides are expected to meet when the season comes to an end to potentially negotiate a transfer. In a recent interview Merino made it known that he will also be talking to BVB saying “When the season is over we [Merino and his agent] will talk to the club and we’ll see what happens”. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Merino will request a transfer specifically to Athletic, but for now it is clear that he wants to return to him homeland and the Lions are ready to welcome him with open arms.