Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino has refused to rule out an exit from St James’ Park this summer when probed about the mounting speculation over his future.

The 21-year-old, who stands at 6’1″ in the centre of the park, arrived on Tyneside on an initial loan move from Borussia Dortmund last year but after an impressive start to his career with the Magpies saw it turned into a permanent deal, penning a five-year contract.

However injuries have plagued his season and left him lacking in game time, with just one start in the last 10 games, and with claims he could be set for a move back to Spain, he is not ruling out the possibility, revealing his plans for summer are simply to enjoy the summer break – but only after giving everything in the final two games of the campaign.

When asked about a potential exit, he said to the Chronicle: “”I’m happy. I’m just focusing on playing football and enjoying myself.

“We have these two matches, and then I’ll clear my mind and relax with my family and loved ones and enjoy my holidays.

“We are going to approach the two matches with 100 per cent to finish the season with a good feeling. We don’t have to think about who we play against, just the match.”

Football Insider verdict

Merino arrived on Tyneside to little fanfare but he made a big impact in his opening appearances, which had fans believing they had a star of the future. At 21-years-old he certainly has a lot of potential but the quality which was present in the early stages of the season has gone, potentially as a result of the numerous injuries he has suffered. He needs to focus on getting himself back to full fitness over the summer and then fans might get to see the best of him once again – if he stays that is. Is there much chance of him making a shock departure? He certainly seems to like it at Newcastle and Rafael Benitez has a lot of hope, so unless a mega-money deal came in, with a fee that the Magpies cannot turn down, he will be turning out in the black and white stripes next season. 

In other Newcastle United transfer news, the club are set to swoop for the deal of the summer in a £5.8million move.

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