By Russell Edge
Newcastle United secured the loan signing of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mikel Merino after Spanish side Athletic Bilbao refused to break their wage bracket, according to a report.
Spanish sports newspaper Marca claim on their website that the Spanish side have strict restrictions in place over the wages offered to players.
It is said that the club have only broken the barrier once, for centre back Aymeric Laporte, although suggest that since his wage rise his performances have fallen.
The report states that negotiations between the club and Merino and his representatives were not fruitful in reaching a compromise which suited both parties and as a result the midfielder ended up at Newcastle under Rafael Benitez.
The capture of Merino can be considered somewhat of a coup for the Magpies, with Bilbao being able to offer European football in the form of the Europa League.
However, Merino has already established himself as a firm fan favourite on Tyneside with his impressive performances in the centre of the park.
He has signed a one year loan deal with the Magpies, although Benitez has confirmed that if he continues his fine form they will be looking to secure him on a permanent basis.
He has appeared in all of the club’s seven league matches this season, six coming in the starting XI, which is just two less appearances than he managed during the entire season he spent at Dortmund.
In other Newcastle United news, a potential investor has reportedly been impressed after meeting with club officials.