Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is reportedly interested in securing the services of Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino in the summer transfer window.

According to Fichajes, Barcelona are considering launching a swoop for Real Sociedad and Spain midfielder Mikel Merino with manager Xavi Hernandez believed to be a huge admirer of the 25-year-old.

A product of the Osasuna youth setup, Merino left Spain in 2016 and had stints away at Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United before joining Real Sociedad in 2018. Since his return to La Liga, the midfielder has been one of the most solid and reliable performers in his position in the competition.

Merino has made 142 appearances for La Real, scoring 16 goals and setting up 15 more. This season, he has been in good form, producing a return of four goals and three assists from 31 matches in all competitions. The midfielder, capped 11 times by the Spanish national team, is a player who can impact games in the attacking and the defensive halves of the pitch, qualities that have made him a target for Barcelona boss Xavi.

Barcelona have a packed midfield unit with Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Gavi, Sergio Busquets and Nico Gonzalez as options, along with Riqui Puig. However, Puig is expected to be on his way out at the end of the season amid interest from clubs in Italy. Furthermore, with Busquets set to turn 34 in a few months, a long-term replacement needs to be brought in.

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A move for Franck Kessie of AC Milan has been mooted strongly, with Barcelona believed to have tabled a contract offer for the Ivory Coast international already. 

But, it seems like Xavi also has sights set on a move for Merino. Considering that the 25-year-old has proven himself in La Liga with Real Sociedad and the international level with Spain, he could settle in quickly at Camp Nou. The midfielder has a creative element to his game and can contribute with goals from the centre of the park, while he excels in the defensive aspects.

Considering that he ticks most of the boxes for the Blaugrana, it will be interesting to see if they decide to go after Merino in the summer. He has a contract with Sociedad that runs until the summer of 2025, meaning that the club could demand a premium fee for his services. It could prove to be a hurdle for Barcelona, given their financial situation.

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