By Russell Edge

8th Nov, 2017 | 8:36pm

Report: La Liga trio eye multi-million pound swoop for Newcastle hot prospect

By Russell Edge

Newcastle United midfield star Mikel Merino has been lined up for a transfer move by a trio of La Liga clubs, according to a report.

Spanish football news source El Gol Digital claim that Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, alongside their fellow La Liga side Athletic Bilbao, are all interested in the 21-year-old’s services after emerging as a hot prospect on Tyneside.

The report also states that Merino would not be allowed to leave for anything less than £17.6million (€20million) if the Spanish sides did want to take him back to his homeland.

The central midfielder joined Newcastle on an initial year-long loan deal from German side Borussia Dortmund but impressed so much during the opening few fixtures of the season that the Magpies turned his temporary deal into a permanent one.

He had played seven games for the club before he signed a five-year deal, and has a total of nine appearances under his belt, the same amount he made during his season at Dortmund, although has been ruled out of the last two fixtures through injury.

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Football Insider verdict

There is unlikely to be a single Newcastle United fan in the world who believes that the club should let Merino depart any time soon, having emerged as a firm favourite among the Toon Army. He is the sort of signing the club have been failing to secure in recent years, and his performances alone provide a huge lift in morale around the club. There is no doubt he is one of, if not the, brightest prospect Rafael Benitez has at his disposal and while £17million may be tempting, he will be worth so much more in years to come. Merino has already left one giant of world football due to a lack of playing time and he is not guaranteed a place at any of the La Liga sides, which should also boost Newcastle’s hopes of keeping their midfield maestro.

In other Newcastle United transfer news, the club are eyeing up a double swoop from La Liga.

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