Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino could be set to leave St. James' Park this summer and return to La Liga despite only moving to the Premier League last summer, according to reports in Spain.
The 21-year-old completed a season-long loan move from German side Borussia Dortmund just 12 months ago, and Merino's temporary spell in the northeast has already been made permanent - costing Newcastle a total of £9m.
But Spanish outlet AS claim that Merino could be vying for an exit already. The former Osasuna academy star has reportedly caught the eye of Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis ahead of the summer transfer window.
It is also claimed that the Magpies would be willing to listen to offers in the region of €10m - just over £8.5m - to part ways with the Spain U21 international, who is tied down to a contract at the club until 2022.
Would be the most Newcastle thing ever if Merino were to leave this summer. An absolute baller who will no doubt go on to shine in years to come. Got to keep him.— 𝕋𝕙𝕖𝕄𝕒𝕔𝕜𝕖𝕞𝕊𝕝𝕒𝕪𝕖𝕣 (@TheMackemSlayer) May 23, 2018
Rumoured suitors Bilbao are known to be long-term admirers of the young midfielder, and officials at the San Mamés Stadium have always had one eye on signing Merino as his Basque heritage meets their strict requirements over who can play for the club.
While Real Betis are also in the hunt for new signings following their incredible campaign in La Liga, finishing above Sevilla to secure a place in the top six.
The Verderones will also be eyeing Merino as an investment, with the club eager to sign young players who could one day be sold on for profit.