By Harvey Byrne
BT Sport pundit Don Hutchison believes Newcastle have brought in a good player in midfield enforcer Mikel Merino and was surprised Borussia Dortmund allowed him to go.
The 21-year-old was confirmed a Magpies player via their official website and official Twitter account on Friday afternoon, joining on a season-long loan with many reports stating there was also an option to buy in the deal.
It marks a slight unknown signing for Newcastle supporters given that his professional career to date has so far been spent in Spain with Osasuna and Germany with Dortmund.
But, Hutchison, who worked as a pundit on the Bundesliga for BT last season has told that he believes Newcastle have made a good buy in Merino and that he should have no problem in adapting to the Premier League.
“It’s not easy standing out when you’re playing in a squad as good as theirs and Merino didn’t play that much. But when he did feature for them, he caught my eye. I’m a bit surprised that they were willing to let him go – but I’m not surprised that Rafa has been so keen to get him,” told Hutchison to the Chronicle.
“The most important thing about him is he’s a smart player who is very technically good. It’s almost like Rafa has signed three players because he can feature at centre-back, left-back and in midfield – or even as part of a three at the back. He looks pretty comfortable in all three of those positions.
“When I saw him I thought he could break forward and pick a pass if he needed to do that. His long-range passing impressed me and he was good with both feet – but on his left he’s really good.
“Physically he’s a good size and he’s certainly not afraid of putting a tackle in. He’s decent in the air too so I don’t think it’ll be a problem with him slotting into the Premier League and making an impression.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the most high-profile signing of the summer but if Rafa is working on a budget and he’s got to pick up bargains from across Europe, Merino is a really good buy. He’s the sort of player Newcastle should be looking at.”
Merino agreed a five-year deal with Borussia Dortmund in February 2016, which came into effect last July.
The Spain Under-21 international was considered a bright prospect, but following his move to Germany he was limited to just nine senior appearances.
He will now be looking to kick start his career back up in the north east of England and fans will be hoping he can help keep Newcastle in the Premier League.
In other Newcastle news, the Magpies have been installed as favourites to sign this 13-time England international.