Release Clause Demand The Biggest Obstacle Standing In Athletic’s Way Of Signing Mikel Merino


Athletic and Mikel Merino don’t see eye-to-eye on a release clause fee (AS)

Every day that passes is one day closer to the end of the Mikel Merino soap opera. The midfielder is going to leave Newcastle this summer and the only question at this point is where he will end up. So far Athletic Club, Real Betis, and Real Sociedad are leading the race for his signature and all three have offered him the same five year contract with competitive wages. Although it seems as though Merino will just have to pick a new club, there is one issue that could tip the favor in one direction.

According to a report from Javier Beltran of AS, Mikel Merino has a specific idea of what kind of release clause he wants in a new contract. The 21-year-old doesn’t want it to be too large in case he plays well and attracts interest from a bigger club. Real Betis and Real Sociedad seem more open to the idea of a small release clause, but Athletic are hoping to place one that is at least €60 million. The Lions are believed to be willing to negotiate.

Although this situation doesn’t take Athletic out of the running, it does add a new wrinkle to the transfer saga. The other thing that Merino wants is to move to a club where he is guaranteed playing time. He has spent the last two years on the bench and doesn’t want another repeat of that happening. All three clubs are willing to offer him an important role in the team, but Real Betis are the only ones who can give him the chance to play in Europe as they qualified for the Europa League last season.

For now Mikel Merino has three offers on the table that he is studying before making a decision. Sources say that the English side is asking for a transfer fee of around €15 million and all three clubs believe that they have a strong chance at landing the Newcastle midfielder. In the meantime, the 21-year-old is currently in New York on vacation but is said to want to sign with a new club before the beginning of the Basque celebration of San Fermín on 6 July.

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