By Russell Edge

24th Oct, 2017 | 8:31pm

Report: Newcastle star spied by European giants, compared to two-time Premier League champion

By Russell Edge

European giants Real Madrid and Barcelona have both taken an interest in Newcastle United’s 21-year-old midfielder Mikel Merino, according to a report.

Italian football news website calciomercato.com claim that Madrid president Florentino Perez has been impressed with what he has seen of the youngster, who signed for Newcastle on an initial one-year loan deal in the summer.

However he has been a revelation for the Magpies, appearing in every one of their nine Premier League games this season, which convinced them to tie him to a permanent deal, Merino signing a five-year contract.

The report states that Los Blancos’ fierce rivals Barcelona are also interested in the midfielder, who has supposedly been dubbed the next Cesc Fabregas, who is a Premier League icon having picked up two titles with Chelsea.

Merino netted his first goal for Newcastle on Saturday, heading home late from a Matt Ritchie corner to secure a 1-0 win over top flight rivals Crystal Palace.

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Football Insider verdict

While there is no doubt that Merino has been a star performer for Newcastle United this season, news of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s interest should be taken with a pinch of salt – thankfully for the Toon Army. He has just signed a long-term deal with the Magpies and they are in no position to need to sell the 21-year-old. He is expected to play a key role to their survival hopes this season and will likely be a crucial part of the squad as they look to build in the future. Still, there is no smoke without fire and even the report shows just how good a deal Newcastle got in snapping him up from Borussia Dortmund. Perhaps a move will come to fruition in the future, but for the time being Newcastle fans can sleep soundly over their new star man’s future.

In other Newcastle United news, Ian Wright has revealed what he believes the Magpies must look to achieve this season.

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