On Friday, it was confirmed that Mikel Merino’s loan would become permanent, to the joy of every Newcastle fan. I’ll be counting down the reasons he’s already been a success.
First of all is his price. £6 million for a talented youngster with a big future ahead of him is an absolute steal in today’s market. It’s refreshing to see a team pick up a cheap young player especially when you see players like Sam Clucas going for over £16 million. It also shows Benitez has a great eye for talent with top quality scouts.
Second, we have the fact that he’s a very intelligent player. Merino knows when to play a pass, when to hold a player off and when it’s best to go on his own. The Premier League is quickly becoming a much more sophisticated league to what it was 15 years ago and technical ability is much more important than being able to snap someone. A player bred in the Dortmund and Osasuna youth academies and will be brought up that way (one of the many reasons Germans are superior at football) to stay on your feet instead of wildly diving into a tackle. On top of that, playing in the Premier League will give him a certain toughness to him as it is still more physical than most top European leagues. This adds up to a perfect player for the modern game.
Then we have the versatility of the Spaniard. He’ll start out defending at one end of the pitch and then end up on the other end of the pitch looking for a key pass. This means he’s a perfect mix of all our midfielders. Hayden is good at defending but not great at creating chances, Shelvey is brilliant at starting attacks but lacklustre defensively, whereas Merino is a blend of all their strong points.
Feature image credit: Ben Sutherland