Liverpool are reportedly prepared to make a €40 million move to sign Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino, a target for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

According to El Nacional, Liverpool have set their sights on Mikel Merino. The Real Sociedad midfielder has emerged as an in-demand prospect in the market, with both Barcelona and Real Madrid keen on snapping him up in the near future.

However, the Spanish giants are set to face stiff competition from Liverpool. The Premier League giants are weighing up a €40 million bid for Merino after Jurgen Klopp personally requested the club to lure him to Anfield as a direct replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum.

Formerly of Osasuna and Borussia Dortmund, Merino has unfinished business in England, having struggled in his previous spell in the Premier League with Newcastle United. The Spaniard played for the Magpies for only one season before being shipped out to Real Sociedad, a move that has done wonders to his career.

In just three and a half years, Merino has established himself as one of the best midfielders in La Liga. The 25-year-old has featured in 128 competitive appearances for the club, emerging as a midfield lynchpin for Sociedad and notably helping them secure the Copa Del Rey title last year.

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Merino’s success has not gone unnoticed, with Luis Enrique considering him as a vital part of the Spanish national side. The midfielder has already won ten caps for his country and now could be on the verge of a big-money move to Premier League, with Liverpool emerging as a potential destination.

Mikel Merino’s potential move to Anfield could serve as a breath of fresh air for Jurgen Klopp, who has been lacking youthful exuberance in the middle of the park. The constant injury problems of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, coupled with the advancing age of James Milner, has led to a dilemma for the German tactician, even though Liverpool have performed well in the Premier League.

As a result, the Reds have been linked with a move for multiple midfielders, including Real Madrid superstar Toni Kroos. In Merino, though, the Liverpool boss could find himself a younger alternative, who has had past exposure in the Premier League and could prove to be a smart long-term investment for the club.

However, it remains to be seen whether a fee of €40 million will be enough to convince Real Sociedad into cashing in on their prized asset. The interest from Barcelona is also worth noting, as the midfielder could be easily lured by the highly respected figure of Xavi, who may consider the former Dortmund starlet as an ideal long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets.

As for Real Madrid, they are in need of signing long-term successors for Luka Modric and Kroos, which prompts them to make a move for a midfielder, with Merino a viable target. However, with Liverpool ready to offer €40 million for the 25-year-old, it is clear which club has taken the first definitive step in his pursuit, with Barcelona and Real Madrid needing to pull their socks up to claw their way back in the race.

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