Newcastle United forward Ayoze Perez has admitted he is disappointed to see Mikel Merino leave the club after only one season in the Premier League.
Speaking to the Chronicle, Perez explained that it was tough for him to see a great friend and a good player leave.
Perez stated: "Mikel Merino is a great friend as well as being a teammate. Outside of football we spent a lot of time together and I am sad to see him leave.
"But at the end of the day it's his decision, he has to look out for what is best for him. I am sad to see him leave, but we are still good friends and I wish him all the best at Sociedad," the forward added.
Merino joined Real Sociedad after the Spanish club met his £10m buyout clause. The midfielder made 14 starts and ten substitute appearances under Rafael Benitez, scoring one goal and providing one assist.
During his interview with the Chronicle, Perez went on to explain how happy he is at Newcastle, rubbishing reports of a possible move to Spain.
The Spaniard said "I want to be at Newcastle going forward 100 per cent. I am living the dream of playing in the Premier League, playing for a massive team, and so it's good to be here and I love playing for this club.
"Obviously it is good to have interest from those Spanish teams, because it makes you feel like you are doing something great, and shows I must be doing something right.
Perez continued saying: "But honestly I'm happy in England, I'm happy playing in the Premier League. I'm living my dream, and still it is not time for me to go back to Spain."
The 24-year-old's comments will come as a disappointment to Real Betis, who were one of a number of Spanish sides that had been linked with a move for Perez.