Mikel Merino has been a sensation since making a loan move from Borussia Dortmund this summer, however Spanish reports have today claimed that the midfielder was very close to moving elsewhere this summer.
Whilst Benitez was a big fan of the Spaniard, however it was known that La Liga side Athletic Bilbao were also very keen on signing the Spain Under-21 international.
Spanish outlet Marca have revealed today that it was wages that played a big role in Merino linking up with Benitez at St James’ Park opposed to with Bilbao in the Basque country.
Bilbao have a strict policy of signing players born in the Basque country, and Merino fit that bill. It’s been revealed that it was their stringent wage structure that hampered his potential arrival however, allowing Newcastle to move in and get their man.
Given his seamless transition into English football and the influence he’s had on our team so far, I’m quite relieved this was the case, with the Spaniard looking all set to tie up a permanent move to St James’ Park this summer.