Arsenal & Barcelona planning shock moves for ex-NUFC duo – Sky Sports & SPORT

According to Sky Sports and SPORT, ex-NUFC midfielder Mikel Merino and French flop Florian Thauvin are being tracked by Barcelona and Arsenal respectively.

Firstly, Barcelona-based paper ‘SPORT‘ claim that the Catalan giants have been impressed by former Mag Merino during his debut season with Real Sociedad, suggesting that they could make a move to sign him as a potential long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets.

Considering he was solid for just £12m last summer, his form in Spain (and early-season showings at NUFC) makes you wonder if he could be another ‘one that got away’.

Merino has shone in his first season back in La Liga, bagging 4 goals and 5 assists from midfield and catching the eye with several classy displays.

He had a mixed time on Tyneside, but is talent was clear, with him showing real quality prior to both his back injury and those rumours linking him with a return to Spain.

Then to Florian Thauvin – a player who didn’t show nearly as much promise as Merino during his brief and forgettable time at St James’ Park.

Sky Sports claim that Unai Emery is keen to bring the French international to Arsenal this summer, however Marseille’s alleged €50m (£45m) asking price could be an issue.

As French Football writer Jeremy Smith highlights below, he doesn’t believe the winger is worth this sort of money – even if he’s now a ‘far better player’ than the one we briefly saw at Newcastle several years ago:

Thauvin has bagged a stunning 44 goals and 26 goals over the past two seasons, also being part of the French squad that won the World Cup last summer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsenal are reluctant to pay huge money given how he fared during his last stint in England.

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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.

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