Date: 23rd March 2018 at 4:27pm
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Newcastle United are open to holding talks over the exit of summer signing Mikel Merino with Athletic Bilbao ready to pounce on his capture, according to a report.

Spanish publication AS claim on their website that the Magpies are ready to sanction the shock move for the 21-year-old this summer, despite having only brought him in from Borussia Dortmund just under  a year ago.

It is claimed that Newcastle will look for a fee of around £13million (€15million) for his signature, after shutting down any move for the midfielder in the January window, when Athletic were poking around.

His exit would be a shock considering he has been touted as a future star at St James’ Park, having put pen to paper on a five-and-a-half year deal when he turned a loan into a permanent deal from Dortmund in October 2017, and has made 22 league appearances.

Football Insider verdict

Surely this is all transfer talk and there is nothing in it? Newcastle fans will be wary of the saying ‘there is no smoke without fire’ but Merino is tipped to be crucial in the club’s future, and the thought of him leaving a year after joining is somewhat unfathomable. Nothing seems to make sense, be it the timing of the move or the proposed fee, for the Magpies would surely be asking for nearly double what is proposed in the report. Quite frankly, it seems as though the Spanish media are stirring the pot and are simply trying to get their fantasies to become reality. The Toon Army should not worry too much about this one, even if rumours persist the closer we get to the summer window.

In other Newcastle United news, one senior stalwart is being eyed up for a shock switch this summer.

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