Report: Manchester United eye move for ex-Newcastle United midfielder

Amidst competition from several of Europe’s finest clubs, the Red Devils are reportedly interested in the Real Sociedad midfielder.
Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League
Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

According to a report from Spanish publication COPE, Manchester United are among several clubs keeping close tabs on Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino, whose contract negotiations with the club have hit an impasse.

Having left the Premier League after an underwhelming spell with Newcastle United, Mikel Merino, 27, has established himself as one of the most coveted midfielders in La Liga in recent years. The central midfielder is now a regular in Luis de la Fuente’s Spain squads and is certain to play in the summer’s European Championships.

The Spanish international, 27, has racked up three goals and as many assists in 22 La Liga games, helping Real Sociedad to sixth in the table, whilst also netting twice and bagging an assist in the Champions League this term.

However, COPE states there is growing uncertainty over Merino’s future as he enters the final 18 months of his contract at Anoeta. The two parties are stalling on a new deal, with the player’s entourage waiting to see whether Real Sociedad secures European football for next season before making a final decision.

The central midfielder does have a €60million buyout clause in his contract but he could depart for much cheaper this summer due to his contractual situation at San Sebastian, the report adds.

Manchester United have scouts following various players across Europe and a series of outcomings and incomings are expected in the summer after a poor season, as Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his team look to retool the squad. The British billionaire wants to help the club get back to challenging for big trophies by changing the model of recruitment from splashing the cash on superstars to young talents with high potential.

Red Devil Armada’s verdict:

Erik ten Hag has been forced to rely on teenager Kobbie Mainoo more than expected in the last couple of months due to grave problems in the middle of the park. Casemiro and Christian Eriksen appear to be past their best, while Sofyan Amrabat has failed to live up to the high expectations at our club since his summer loan switch from Fiorentina.

Mainoo has thrived in a deeper role but I think he has the qualities to operate as a box-to-box midfielder. A strong defensive midfielder beside him would massively help unlock his true potential, and Man United’s interest in Mikel Merino suggests we are in the right direction.