Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo reports that the Catalans are looking for a permanent replacement for Sergio Busquets. For that purpose, they are scouting Mikel Merino ahead of the new season.
The club has already shown interest in the youngster. But he has a release clause of 60 million Euros. His club may not be willing to let go of him. Mikel Merino joined Spanish outfit Real Sociedad ahead of the 2018-19 season. Ever since then, the 24-year-old has made unprecedented progress.
Merino is a mainstay in the middle of the park for La Real. His technical abilities on the ball and defensive prowess make him an irreplaceable asset in the Sociedad side.
So far, the Spaniard has made 111 appearances for his current club. He has scored 12 goals and provided the same number of assists. A rather more-than-convincing record for a defensive midfielder.
Mikel’s success at Sociedad has caught the eye of elite clubs in Europe. And Barcelona has been quite interested in signing him this summer. Although his release clause may pose to be a problem, the club are reportedly confident of securing a move.
Barcelona midfield backup plan soon to be in motion
Catalan giants Barca are looking to strengthen their midfield. And while the likes of Pedri, Moriba, De Jong, and Busquets already provide squad depth, the Blaugrana fear it may not be enough.
Sergio Busquets is nearing the end of his illustrious career. And while the veteran is still a major asset for Ronald Koeman, he is already showing signs of depletion.
Miralem Pjanic was brought in from Juventus last season to provide cover. But the Bosnian has barely made any impact. Rather, calling him a complete disappointment will probably not take it too far.
Barcelona has even considered offloading Pjanic at the end of this term. And several clubs have shown an interest as well, with Manchester City said to be on the waiting list. Therefore, it has become imperative that Barca find a replacement option. To that end, they have already decided to promote Nico Gonzalez from Barca B to the first team next season.
As a La Masia product, the club trusts him to fill the void with relative ease. However, being fresh out of the academy, he may face some trouble competing with the first division players.
This is why Barcelona are considering bringing in Mikel Merino. The Real Sociedad midfielder will provide cover for Busquets’ while simultaneously competing with Nico Gonzalez.
Now, whether Barca finally pays the release clause of 60 million euros or not is something of a doubt. It is no doubt that the club is in a huge financial mess. And that may convince them to not to go ahead with this transfer.