Newcastle have secured the signature of Spanish U-21 international Mikel Merino on a season-long loan deal from Borussia Dortmund. The midfielder becomes the Magpies fifth signing of the summer transfer window.
Before moving to Germany in 2015, Merino made over 60 appearances for his hometown club Osasuna. However, he only made nine appearances last season and new manager Peter Bosz has deemed him surplus to requirements at the Westfalenstadion.
He also featured for Spain at the U-21 European Championships in Poland in June, where they narrowly lost to Germany in the final.
The initial loan move will become a permanent deal once Merino has made an unspecified number of appearances for Newcastle.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Merino expressed his desire to play more regular football:
“It feels good and I’m very happy to be here, to be part of this club. I’m looking forward to touching the ball, meeting my new team-mates and starting to play football. I know it’s a great club and a really nice city. I had different options but I think this is the right place for me to play.”
His new manager and fellow countryman Rafa Benitez believes Merino can grow as a player at St James’ Park:
“Mikel is a midfielder with talent, an under-21 international for Spain. He’s a good size, has quality on the ball and he’s very, very focused and professional. Hopefully he’s the kind of player we can improve a lot – he certainly has the mentality to get better and better.
“He comes from a top side in Dortmund and although he did not play too much last season, he was signed as a young, talented player and to be signed by a club like that shows that he has something good. He has to show what he has, and hopefully he can enjoy playing here for a long time.”
Having bounced back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, Benitez will be hoping Merino and his other summer signings can help his Newcastle side can get off to a strong start when the Premier League resumes next month.
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