Real Betis To Rival Athletic Club In Pursuit Of Mikel Merino
Mikel Merino has eluded Athletic Club for too long. After missing out on signing the midfielder from Osasuna and Borussia Dortmund, the Basques giants are determined to bring him to the San Mamés this summer. In fact, Athletic had a deal in place with Newcastle for Merino back in January but manager Rafa Benitez vetoed the transfer due to the fact that he couldn’t find a replacement in such a short amount of time. Now the Lions are expected to step up their pursuit in hopes of finally landing their white whale.
It has been reported that Athletic and Newcastle will meet again in June to discuss the transfer with both sides expecting a deal to be reached. After initial talks in January there is already a basis for negotiations, especially considering the fact that Merino has already agreed to personal terms with the Lions. Newcastle are said to be willing to sell the 21-year-old and Athletic are ready to make a great offer to seal the deal. Merino has barely featured in the second half of the season and sources claim that he wants to make the switch to the San Mamés, but his signature has been elusive several times already.
Just like the previous transfer windows, there is a potential issue once again. According to reports in Spain, Real Betis have joined the race to sign Mikel Merino as they believe he would be a perfect addition to the team they have been building under manager Quique Setien. Although they have yet to officially begin negotiations with Newcastle, they would be able to offer Merino the chance to play in Europe and he would likely be able to compete for a regular starting role with Fabián expected to leave the club this summer.
Athletic Club have made Merino one of their top transfer targets this summer and, after missing out three times already, they want to get the deal done as quickly as possible. With the Lions already scheduled to meet with Newcastle next month they have the upper hand, but will also likely have to overpay to secure the transfer so early in the window. Real Betis aren’t the only ones interested in the 21-year-old with rumors recently surfacing that clubs in England and Germany are also monitoring the situation. Athletic are currently leading the race to sign Mikel Merino, but they know they will have to work quickly and efficiently if they are to seal the deal.