Newcastle have agreed a deal with Dortmund to sign 21-year old Mikel Merino, apparently on loan with an obligation to buy. There’s been some conflicting reports on that nature of the deal, buy Sky Sports’ Keith Downie believes it’s a loan with obligation to buy at the end of the season.
Merino is a defensive midfielder who can be used as centerback, signed by Dortmund before last season from second division club Osasuna. He only played nine times for BVB last season, and completed a full 90 minutes just twice. Despite that, he’s regarded as a top prospect and played twice during Spain’s 2nd place finish during this summer’s UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
After essentially only having three center midfielders last season, it was imperative Newcastle signed someone who could compete with Issac Hayden and push Jack Colback further down the pecking order. Merino is reportedly a tough tackling midfielder, a smooth passer, and someone who can keep the mall moving from defense into attack. On top of that, he’s a set piece target. Basically, exactly what we needed. Here’s some low-quality video played alongside terrible music to some of his highlights over the past two years.
It was a bit of a whirlwind transfer, with Merino not even linked with the club until this morning. Yesterday, he was apparently on the verge of signing with Athletic Bilbao, a transfer that made so much sense it seemed bound to happen. Today, he was being pictured by our favorite stalkers walking into a Newcastle hospital for a medical.
Now that our transfer appetite has been fulfilled for a day, it’s time to start getting anxious about who and when we’ll sign next. By most accounts a goalkeeper and striker should be made a priority. One would hope a competitor for Paul Dummett’s spot, as well as even another center midfielder will be coming in too.