The longer the summer goes the more dramatic Athletic Club’s pursuit of Mikel Merino becomes. After missing out on the midfielder last summer, the Lions have their best chance ever to sign Merino who recently told Borussia Dortmund that he wanted to leave so that he could play regular minutes. However, Thomas Tuchel’s sacking has complicated things due to the fact that Merino now wants to talk to the new manager and find out if he is in the plans for next season. But that isn’t the only thing standing in Athletic’s way.
It is no secret that BVB would rather not lose Merino outright. He is a fantastic young player who could one day become an elite midfielder. Still, there isn’t room in the squad for him to play regular minutes so a loan may be in their best interests. If Valencia were only requesting a simple loan, it might be a very tempting offer to the Germans. But the fact that they also want to include a purchase option would make things difficult and put things back at square one.
Meanwhile, Athletic Club is still seen as the most likely destination for the midfielder who wants to return home to the Basque Country. He is well aware of Athletic’s interest and some reports have gone as far to say that he will only leave Germany for Athletic. The Lions have been in negotiations with Borussia Dortmund for a few months now and want to buy the player outright. For now they will have to wait until Merino returns from international duty to find out if he will feature in BVB’s immediate plans. If not, Athletic will likely get the green light to purchase the 20-year-old starlet. If Valencia’s offer is tempting, then the Basques could also submit a loan bid that contains a purchase option.