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Athletic Club contact Rafa Benitez over Spanish midfielder

Athletic Club contact Rafa Benitez over Spanish midfielder

According to Spanish reports, Athletic Club have made an enquiry to Newcastle United over the availability of midfielder Mikel Merino.

The 21-year-old has been in superb form this season for the Premier League side, but it is reported that the Basque club have asked how much the youngster would cost if the Northern side were relegated to the Championship.

Newcastle are currently struggling to find form and sit 18th in the league standings with West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City the only sides beneath them.

Athletic have been long interested in Merino, but the player chose to sign a loan deal in England and reject a move back to Spain.

Having impressed, a permanent deal from German side Borussia Dortmund was completed, but the Basque club have reignited their interest by making contact with Newcastle and boss Rafa Benitez.

Born in Pamplona, Merino is perfect for Athletic as they only sign players of Basque heritage.

Prior to his move to Dortmund in 2016, Merino developed his game with Osasuna, making 67 appearances in Segunda for his hometown club, scoring eight goals in the process.

His biggest honour to date came with the Spanish national side at U19 age range, helping them win the UEFA European Championship in 2015.

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