Manchester City are reportedly prepared to meet Mikel Merino’s €60 million release clause, with Pep Guardiola keen on signing the Real Sociedad midfielder.

According to Kike Marin, Manchester City have set their sights on Mikel Merino. The Real Sociedad starlet has emerged as a top target for Pep Guardiola as he looks to shore up midfield options ahead of the new season.

Merino’s current contract at Sociedad expires in 2025, but the midfielder has a €60 million release clause – a figure attainable by Manchester City. The Citizens are expected to trigger the clause in the summer as they consider Merino a great value for the investment.

Formerly of Borussia Dortmund, Merino has emerged as one of the best midfielders in Spain following his exit from Germany. He had a short spell on loan at Newcastle United, but his big breakthrough came at Real Sociedad, where he has firmly established himself as a first-team regular under Imanol Alguacil.

Merino already has almost 150 competitive appearances to his name for Real Sociedad. He has impressed the onlookers with his imposing physique, coupled with his positional sense and the ability to rotate possession. It makes the Spanish international an excellent all-round option in the number six position, with the player even being capable of operating as a holding midfielder.

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Manchester City’s interest in Merino stems from the uncertainty over the future of Fernandinho. The Brazilian veteran has been an excellent servant for the club over the years, but he looks set to leave the club at the end of the season. His exit could cause a major void in the midfield unit.

Even with Fernandinho, Manchester City do lack proper depth in midfield and Pep Guardiola has been forced to play Phil Foden or Bernardo Silva in a central midfield role multiple times this season. As such, the Citizens are prepared to resolve this issue by bringing in Mikel Merino in the summer.

The Spanish international has unfinished business in the Premier League while his technical prowess could make him an ideal fit under Guardiola’s tactical scheme. A fee of €60 million also appears to be quite reasonable for a player who has established himself as one of the best in Spain, even racking up 11 caps for La Roja.

Apart from Manchester City, Merino has been a target for Liverpool and his former club Newcastle United. But it appears the Citizens are the firm favourites as they look to meet the player’s €60 million release clause this summer.

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