After being linked with a multitude of Spanish clubs this summer, Mikel Merino has finally completed a protracted move back to La Liga. Real Sociedad were the club to eventually get the centre midfielder to sign the dotted line.
He left Osasuna in 2016 to join Borussia Dortmund for a transfer fee of €3.75 million. The German giants have been buying the best young talents around Europe, with the promise of giving them first team football, along with developing their game further.
Things didn’t go as planned for Merino in Germany however. After only one season at the Signal Iduna Park and only nine appearances under his belt, Merino’s future looked to be elsewhere. It was expected he would move back to Spain – following this ill-fated spell in Germany – but Rafael Benitez’ Newcastle swooped in for the Spaniard giving Dortmund €10 million in return.
Roll on one year, lacking regular first team football, Merino’s future again looked destined for distant shores. 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. With a myriad of clubs in Spain wanting the 22 year old, Merino was destined to return to home soil this summer.
Even though his performances weren’t bad in England with Newcastle, Merino was unable to make himself a permanent figure in that Newcastle side. After playing a total of 25 games for the Toon Army, Merino makes his way back to Spain having at least tried to test himself in different leagues and will be the better for it. His ever increasing transfer fee demonstrates that he’s isn’t a bad footballer. Any time he has played at national level in particular, he has looked very capable.
The Pamplona native will now be playing his football in San Sebastian – only one hour from his home city. Coming in as a replacement for Sergio Canales, who has joined the revolution at Real Betis, Merino should fit in seamlessly. His transfer fee/release clause of €12 million will be seen as a great deal by Real Sociedad as they look to find their way back to European football this coming season.