Former Europa League winners Sevilla have become the fourth Spanish club to express an interest in signing Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino, according to The Chronicle.
The 21-year-old made a massive impression when he arrived at St James’ Park last season, but the longer the campaign went on the more he struggled to get into the side, and by the end of his first term on Tyneside there were times where he never even made the matchday squad despite being fit.
Rafael Benitez wants to keep his youngster at the club but he faces a difficult call as the Spain Under-21 international is looking for regular football at this stage of his career, and the former Liverpool boss may not be in a position to guarantee it.
Merino managed just one start since January and only made three more appearances off the bench, which frustrated the midfielder and has left him assessing his options.
It might be that if he can replace the young star, Benitez will cash in on the Spaniard to generate funds and space in his squad to bring in more players, to help with pushing Newcastle further up the table next season.
Should he choose to go down that route the Magpies will not be short of suitors for their playmaker. Real Sociedad have already offered £10 million for his services, while Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao have been admirers of the midfielder for some time.
It seems as though Sevilla have noticed the ongoing uncertainty around the former Borussia Dortmund ace and have expressed an interest in signing him too, and with Merino keeping his options open a move to one of the Spanish sides is beginning to look more and more likely.
The positive for Newcastle is that if they do sell, with so many clubs looking to take the midfield star, they could generate some sort of bidding war and maximise their earnings on him.