Mikel Merino Enjoying His Summer Vacation In Light Of Athletic Club Rumors
Mikel Merino is Athletic Club’s biggest transfer target this summer. After missing out on the midfielder in the last three transfer windows, they plan to go full force to bring him to the San Mamés this time. In fact, the Lions had a deal in place with Newcastle and Merino in January, but manager Rafa Benitez vetoed the sale because he did not have enough time to find a replacement. The two clubs are scheduled to meet again in June in hopes of finalizing a deal. Mikel Merino is currently on summer vacation in Pamplona and told Radio Marca Pamplona that he is just focused on enjoying his time off right now.
“Every transfer market there are rumors of all kinds. That is just part of football and I understand that. Right now what I want is to enjoy the holidays with my family and then see what happens. I’m just focused on enjoying my vacation, we will see what happens. If something does happen, my agents will call my parents and they will tell me. Not playing as much at Newcastle? I had a small injury and then the coach made decisions that I had to respect. Other teammates played and they did well.”
Merino is regarded as one of the best young Basque players in football and Athletic have been pursuing him for close to two years now. With the team’s weaknesses in midfielder exposed during last season, the belief is that Merino would provide more quality and stability to help the Lions get back to their winning ways. The fact that Newcastle and Athletic are already planning to meet in June should be seen as a positive sign, although there will still be a lot to work out with the English side aware of the fact that they can demand a large sum from the Basque giants.
Athletic aren’t the only ones interested in Merino even though he agreed to personal terms back in January. Fellow La Liga club Real Betis are also keen on signing the 21-year-old and would be able to offer him Europa League matches, whereas Athletic did not qualify for European competition. After seeing their efforts foiled in the last three transfer windows, the Lions are determined not to let their pursuit of Merino turn into a soap opera once again. They want to secure his signing as quickly as possible and finally put an end to their nearly two-year long chase of the Osasuna product.