Athletic Club Target Mikel Merino Has Reportedly Agreed To Personal Terms With Real Betis
Another transfer window, another puzzling pursuit of Mikel Merino. After missing out on the midfield starlet for nearly two years, it looked like Athletic finally had their man in January. The Lions had reached an agreement with Newcastle for the sale of Merino, but the deal was eventually vetoed by manager Rafa Benitez who did not have a way to replace the player. The two clubs agreed to meet again in June to work out the deal and everything looked positive. Well, that was until Real Betis got involved.
The Beticos qualified for the Europe League last season and are hard at work strengthening their squad ahead of the upcoming campaign. Quique Setien’s side are expected to lose star midfield Fabian this summer and have made Mikel Merino their top transfer priority. Their interest in the 21-year-old isn’t really much of a shock, but it has made things extremely difficult for Athletic Club.
On Monday things took a major turn when sources in Andalusia reported that Merino has agreed to personal terms with Real Betis. The deal is said to be for five years and will include a large release clause to fend off other interested clubs in the future. Now they are preparing to meet with Newcastle with a transfer fee the only thing left to decide and Betis are hoping to seal the move as quickly as possible. If the reports are true, this puts Athletic in a position where they will have to do something fast if they truly want to sign the player.
For all their interest in Mikel Merino, Athletic have been extremely quiet over the last few weeks. At one point it seemed as though they were ready to overpay for the Newcastle player, but recently it became clear that they had no interest in getting involved in a bidding war. Perhaps Athletic have decided to move on from Merino, or maybe they are working quietly behind the scenes. Whatever the reason, Merino is moving closer to becoming a Real Betis player and Athletic will have to work hard if they are going to keep that from happening.