Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez looks on from the touchline

By Danny Wright

Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that reported Newcastle target Mikel Merino has entered talks with another club.

The Bundesliga titans announced on their official Twitter account on Wednesday that the 20-year-old had been left out of their pre-season training squad in Switzerland “for discussions with another club”.

This comes after Spanish newspaper Marca reported on their website that the Magpies had agreed to sign Merino on a season-long loan deal as Dortmund look for him to earn invaluable first-team experience.

Borussia Dortmund only signed Merino from Osasuna last summer and he only earned nine appearances across all competitions for the German’s last season.

The defensive midfielder, who can also play as a centre-back, featured for the entire 90 minutes in draws with Hertha Berlin and Augsburg in what were his only starts in the Bundesliga.

The seven-times Spain Under-21 international could become Newcastle’s fifth signing of the summer, following Christian Atsu, Florian Lejeune, Javier Manquillo and Jacob Murphy in switching to St. James’ Park.

Football Insider Verdict

Merino would definitely make a good addition to the Newcastle squad, but it’s unlikely that he would get a proper first-team role next season. He probably won’t be forcing captain Jamaal Lascalles and new boy Lejeune out of the centre of defence and he is equally unlikely to take the defensive midfield slot off Isaac Hayden. However the Spanish youngster will provide a great back-up option and should get at least 20 appearances off the bench for the Magpies – which is certainly going to be more than what he’ll get at the Signal Iduna Park next term. Benitez still needs to kick on in his pursuit of a new striker and goalkeeper. While he is well-stocked between the sticks, it’s clear that the Spanish manager wants a new No 1. They have to be his next moves.

In other Newcastle transfer news, a reunion is on the cards as this defender looks to secure a transfer.

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