When asked if Newcastle had a Mikel Merino replacement lined up , the Chronicle’s Chris Waugh admitted that Lille’s Thiago Maia and Stoke’s Badou Ndiaye could be two players Benitez looks at to replace the Real Sociedad bound midfielder.
As we’ve seen all summer, Merino’s future on Tyneside has consistently been in doubt. Finally, this tedious transfer saga looks set to finally come to an end, with news this week that the 22-year-old is closing in on a move back to Spain.
Real Sociedad look set to pay his release clause (believed to be around £10-13m), meaning we’ll now be tasked to find a replacement in time for the new season.
Here’s what the Chronicle’s Chris Waugh has had to say when asked who Rafa is looking at signing in his place:
“Thiago Maia of Lille is someone Newcastle have watched and, if United could get the 21-year-old Brazilian for a similar fee to that which they recoup for Merino, he would be of interest.
“Stoke City midfielder Badou Ndiaye is also someone who the Magpies scouted before the Senegal international moved to the Potteries, and United could yet reignite their interest in the 27-year-old.”
Chris insists that these are just two of a ‘whole host’ of midfielders Rafa and the recruitment team have scouted, but they’ll be two to watch in the coming weeks as we attempt to find a quick replacement for the Spaniard.
The likes of Stefan Sturaro, Ruben Loftus Cheek, Clement Grenier, Jack Wilshere and Giannelli Imbula were all mentioned in a piece by the Chronicle today, however these were deemed either unlikely or not like-for-like Merino replacements in comparison to Maia and Ndiaye.
Would you be happy if we signed Maia or Ndiaye in Merino’s place?
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About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.