Newcastle United have confirmed their first senior sale of the summer as midfielder Mikel Merino makes a move to La Liga side Real Sociedad for an undisclosed fee.
The Magpies revealed the 22-year-old’s departure, just a year after joining from Borussia Dortmund on an initial loan fee, via their official Twitter account and website, in what is the club’s only first team exit during the current transfer window.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) July 12, 2018
The midfield maestro, who stands at 6’1″ (source: Transfermarkt) returns to his homeland after making 25 appearances while at St James’ Park, scoring just one goal, a header against Crystal Palace, and chipping in with a solitary assist from the middle of the park.
It came as a shock when Merino was first linked with an exit away from Tyneside earlier in the summer, but the Toon Army have had plenty of time to prepare for his exit after weeks of rumours. It will be a big disappointment to see him go after what was a bright start to his career at the club, and at 22 he certainly has a bright future ahead of him. Only the player himself will know why he has chosen to make the move back to Spain, but after struggling to defeat Jonjo Shelvey and Mohamed Diame in the battle for a first team spot at St James’ Park, there can be a couple of guesses as to why. Still, it is money in the bank for Rafael Benitez, who knew he needed to sell up before he could start splashing the cash in the summer transfer window, and if this move signals the start of more reinforcements coming in, then the bitter pill will be swallowed with a little more ease by fans.