Mikel Merino linked with move away from Newcastle United

Athletic Bilbao reportedly lead the chase for the young Spaniard

Mikel Merino linked with move away from Newcastle United
Mikel Merino arriving at St James' Park

Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino is a reported target of Spanish side Athletic Bilbao after he expressed his desire to leave the North East side, according to TEAMtalk.

Merino had initially been on loan at the Magpies from Borussia Dortmund but made his temporary deal permanent just six months ago

Even though the Spaniard had already been at Newcastle for a year he found it tough to settle in to the North East. As well as this he struggled to become a regular in Rafael Benitez's starting XI from the beginning of the season, who is currently 'happy with the approach of the team'. 

However, when he was picked by Benitez he proved to be an important player for the Magpies. Sadly for Merino, as the season progressed and as more new players were brought in during the January transfer window, he started to become outranked by others, progressively benching him.

According to TEAMtalk, since Merino rarely gets any game time for the Geordies, it has led to him discussing a move away from the club with his manager. 

If Bilbao were to sign Merino it would see him move back to his native Spain, being closer to home and his family than he is now. 

When the Magpies initially signed Merino back in October 2017 they paid seven million euros. At the current time it is unclear as to what the asking price would be if an agreement for Merino to leave is agreed. 

No official move or attempt to move has been made public as of yet.