Barcelona eyeing Mikel Merino as Martin Zubimendi replacement

Barcelona will reportedly target Mikel Merino as an alternative to his Real Sociedad teammate Martin Zubimendi next year.

According to a report by Spanish outlet Fichajes, Mikel Merino is the subject of interest from Barcelona. The reigning La Liga champions view the 19-cap Spanish international as an alternative to Martin Zubimendi. Meanwhile, the Real Sociedad midfielder will cost around €60 million, the same price tag as Zubimendi’s.

Mikel Merino and His Progress in La Liga

Mikel Merino has established himself as one of the best midfielders in La Liga since joining Real Sociedad from Newcastle United over half a decade ago. The 27-year-old was lost during his time at Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United. But he has grown in stature manifold in the last five and a half years.

Merino has been a mainstay in the middle of the park for Real Sociedad for several seasons, turning out 216 times while chipping in with 21 goals and 28 assists. Meanwhile, the player has also made 19 appearances for the Spanish national side. Merino’s progress has not gone unnoticed, capturing the attention of many high-profile clubs.

Recent reports have linked the Spaniard with several well-known Premier League clubs, like Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. But the latest update has produced links with reigning La Liga champions Barcelona. Meanwhile, the Real Sociedad midfielder will cost around €60 million next year.

Barcelona Interested in Mikel Merino

Barcelona initially considered Joshua Kimmich and Martin Zubimendi as the priority targets for the 2024 summer transfer window. Xavi Hernandez was pushing for a move for Zubimendi, in particular. But the Catalan giants recently ruled out summer moves for Kimmich and Zubimendi. Mikel Merino has now emerged as an alternative on Barcelona’s radar.

The Spaniard’s status as one of the best midfielders in La Liga will appeal to Barcelona, especially with Oriol Romeu not having a long-term future at the club. But Merino’s price tag might be a problem for the financially struggling Barcelona.

Spending €60 million on one player might not be possible for Barcelona. Considering Zubimendi also costs the same amount, it is unclear how the Blaugrana can afford the Spaniard. But it will be interesting to see if a move sees the light of the day for the 27-year-old.

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