Mikel Merino Admits He Would Like To Return To La Liga One Day
Mikel Merino remains the number one transfer target for Athletic Club going into the summer window and the Lions are hopefully that they can finally land the prized midfielder. There was a deal in place back in the Winter, but without a replacement coming in Rafa Benítez vetoed the sale. The 21-year-old recently gave an interview with AS and admitted that he would like to return to Spain one day, further fueling speculation of a move to the San Mamés.
“Having played in three leagues, things are very different. The German league is very strong and physical. The clubs are well organized tactically. In England it is top speed. I think it is the most difficult league because it is intense. The players here are great physically, but the tactical and technical level is not as good as the Spanish League, but the physical level is brutal. I am very happy to be in the Premier League and to have experienced the Bundesliga, but someday I would like to return to the Spanish League. Right now I am very happy playing for Rafa Benítez. He is very clear about what he wants from me and things are going well.”
Merino went on to say that it doesn’t bother him that he has been continually linked with a move to Athletic Club. He is proud that he is playing well enough for other clubs to show interest and revealed that playing in the Number 8 role is where he thinks he performs his best.
“No, it doesn’t bother me. The fact that Athletic and other clubs are interested is a sign that I am doing things right. I’m very grateful for the interest they have each transfer window because it means I’m doing well. You can never know where you are going to play, where your career will take you. I am more comfortable in the number 8 role, like I played for Spain’s U19 team, where I have another midfielder behind to give me freedom. I like to push forward into the box and take shots on goal. I think that is where I am at my best as a footballer.”
It was recently reported that Newcastle and Athletic are set to begin negotiations in June with €15 million believed to be enough for the Lions to bring the midfielder to the San Mamés. However, a report from Lee Ryder in England refutes those statements as he says that Newcastle have no intention of selling the starlet. Only time will tell how this transfer saga will play out, but you can guarantee that Athletic will once again heavily pursue the Osasuna product.