Real Sociedad President Travels To England To Negotiate For Athletic Club Target Mikel Merino
Over the last two weeks Athletic Club and Real Betis have been battling over the signature of midfielder Mikel Merino. Both clubs have offered the 21-year-old a five year deal with competitive wages and have kept communication lines open with Newcastle. Initial reports say that the English side will be willing to part with the starlet for roughly €15 million so it looks as though Merino will be the one to decide his future. However, a third team has now stepped up interest and is ready to enter the race.
According to a report from Roberto Romajo, Real Sociedad have identified Merino as their top transfer priory and are ready to spend the money needed to secure his signature. Club President Jokin Aperribay has already flown to England to meet with Newcastle in person to begin negotiations and hopes to return to San Sebastian with good news. He used this same tactic in the past to land the Carlos Vela and Esteban Granero and is hoping for the same outcome.
Romajo’s report also says that Real Sociedad were in talks with Merino’s representatives on Tuesday and offered the player a five year contract, lining up with the same proposals from Athletic Club and Real Betis. The team from Anoeta are willing to pay a transfer fee of €15 million and believe that negotiating in person will give them the edge in signing the 21-year-old Osasuna product.
It is important to keep in mind that Mikel Merino will most likely be the one to decide where he goes. With all three clubs offering the same contract and transfer fee he will have to pick his new destination and is said to be meeting with Newcastle soon in order to discuss his future and make a decision. Merino wants to sign with a new club before the Basque celebration of San Fermín on 6 July so that he will be ready to begin preseason training without delay. The transfer saga has already had plenty of twists and turns but Athletic are still hopeful that they will finally bring Mikel Merino to the San Mamés.