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€59m La Liga midfielder stalling new contract as Man Utd eye summer move

Therefore, the Red Devils and many other European teams will be watching the La Liga table with great interest over the coming weeks to see where exactly Real Sociedad end up.

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Manchester United are one of the clubs monitoring Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino, whose contract negotiations are at an impasse.

The company representing Merino are reluctant to make a decision until a European place is guaranteed – and even then, the player may opt against signing an extension given the interest he is attracting across the continent.

The 6 ft 2 in midfielder, known for his passing ability, rose through Osasuna’s academy and youth system, racking up eight goals in 67 appearances.

Borussia Dortmund spotted Merino’s potential and lured him to Germany at the age of just 20, but managed just nine appearances.

Rafael Benitez lured Merino to Newcastle United in 2017, turning a loan move permanent before his time on Tyneside fizzled out.

By 2018, Merino was back in Spain with Real Sociedad, where he has really settled down and found his best form once again.

Merino has now bagged 25 goals and 30 assists in 233 games for Sociedad whilst picking up 19 caps for Spain.

According to Spanish publication COPE, Merino’s talks over a possible renewal are at a ‘standstill’ and an agreement may depend on whether Sociedad secure European football for next season.

Therefore, the Red Devils and many other European teams will be watching the La Liga table with great interest over the coming weeks to see where exactly Real Sociedad end up.

Only then will they know how viable a move is for the sought-after Merino. On the other hand, if it is European football he is seeking, United themselves have their work cut out to be able to offer that next season.

From United’s perspective, they could certainly do with a ball-winning midfielder who can run and press effectively since the loss of Fred last summer.

Moreover, Casemiro’s performance on Saturday against Everton was another worrying indicator that the player is not cut out for top level football any more, as he was incredibly careless with the ball and offered little protection to the defence as lowly Everton generated 23 shots on the United goal.

 

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