Newcastle United goalkeeper Rob Elliot believes it is only a matter of time before the big clubs come after team-mate Mikel Merino after his bright start to the season.
The Spanish midfielder scored the winning goal in the dying minutes at St. James Park last Saturday, heading past Julian Speroni to beat Crystal Palace 1-0.
Despite only arriving to Newcastle in the summer from Borussia Dortmund for £8m, Elliot spoke after the game about Merino, reported by Sport, and revealed that he thinks he has the ability to play at a higher level:
"I certainly see him in a bracket where clubs like that [Barcelona and Real Madrid] come into it, considering his age.
"It’s only a matter of time before the very top clubs come looking at him, but we want to be a top club, too.
"We want him to stay here, we don’t want to see any of our top players up for sale again. That is the mentality now. We bring them through, the manager is here.
"He’s a fantastic signing from the manager and the scouting department and hopefully we’ll just see him develop as a player and he fulfills all that potential at Newcastle."
It's safe to say that Merino has certainly made quite the impact to Newcastle, but with Mike Ashley putting the club up for sale in recent weeks, the Toon won't be in any rush to sell their top players in the coming transfer windows.
For Newcastle, they'll be looking to make it two wins on the bounce as they head to Turf Moor next Monday to face Burnley.