Real Sociedad are yet to activate Mikel Merino’s release clause at Newcastle United, despite claims a deal was close.
The Spanish Under-21 international emerged as a target for Athletic Club back in January, given his Basque roots but a failed move in the winter transfer market saw him remain in England.
German Bundesliga side Cologne had also shown interest, whilst Valencia, Real Betis and Athletic once more have all been keen this summer to make a move.
It was reported that the young talent will move to the Anoeta and join La Real after the La Liga club and Rafa Benitez’ Newcastle agreed terms over a transfer fee, however, those reports seem a little premature with The Newcastle Chronicle claiming no deal has been reached.
Merino, who has had spells with Osasuna and Borussia Dortmund before he joined Newcastle, made 24 Premier League appearances last term, netting once in the process.
It is thought that the English club have not been keen to let Merino leave, but persistence from Sociedad officials and the players desire to move back to Spain has changed their stance.
Merino is expected to provide a direct replacement for Sergio Canales, who has not renewed his contract and will depart for Real Betis at the end of the month.