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Newcastle United: Ben Jacobs claims Mikel Merino return is unlikely

A return to Newcastle United for midfielder Mikel Merino is unlikely, according to journalist Ben Jacobs.

What’s the word?

The Real Sociedad midfielder previously plied his trade at Newcastle before departing the Premier League in 2018, making 25 appearances for the club.

He was the one that got away for the Magpies, as he is now flourishing in La Liga, but has been linked with a sensational return to the Premier League, with Liverpool reportedly interested.

Do Newcastle now need to sign a midfielder?

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Yes

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However, speaking on NUFC Matters, Jacobs claimed a move for Merino was currently not on the cards for Eddie Howe’s side and that Liverpool seems to be a more likely destination.

He said: “As I understand it, the Newcastle links are not likely.

“It actually is more Liverpool who are potentially looking at him for the summer, and it then would be about what the valuation is – and that’s the other factor from Newcastle’s perspective.

“When you had a player, not only do you know a bit more about them in terms of their value, their personality, but you also have to factor in whether or not you’re going to get any value buying them back.”

A top-quality addition

Merino has developed into a top-class midfielder in Spain and we feel he would be an excellent addition to the Newcastle side if they end up going for him.

He ranks in the top 10% of midfielders for assists, clearances, aerial duels and attacking penalty area touches in Europe’s top competitions, as per FBref, highlighting his all-round ability and technical supremacy.

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With seven assists this season, his final ball would be a weapon for any side, and he would add a lot of creativity to an already-firing Newcastle team.

He originally left Newcastle as he wanted to leave England and is enjoying life in his native Spain, but if he can be convinced to return, it would be a major statement signing for Eddie Howe.