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Could Newcastle bring Borussia Dortmund’s Mikel Merino to the Premier League?

Jake Jackman



Newcastle United need to bring in more quality if they are to consolidate themselves as a force in the Premier League, which will be the aspiration of Rafa Benitez. He won’t want to be managing a team to make up the numbers.

The Telegraph report that Mikel Merino is closing in on a move to Tyneside after an agreement for a transfer was reached with Borussia Dortmund. Marca had previously reported that a loan deal was likely, but it now looks like the Magpies have landed their man on a permanent deal.

Benitez has had a frustrating summer as the club have failed to land priority targets, but this deal represents a huge breakthrough for the club and will go a long way to making their manager happy. The midfielder was personally recommended by the Magpies’ boss and he will strengthen their options in the centre of the park.

Newcastle were made aware that he was unsettled in Germany and have been pursuing a deal behind the scenes for weeks. It now looks like they have landed their man.

What would he bring to Newcastle United?

The Spaniard didn’t play a prominent role at Borussia Dortmund last season, but he is only 21 years of ageand it is clear that he possesses a lot of talent.

He made eight appearances in the Bundesliga, which included two starts for the midfielder. The Spanish Under-21 international is viewed as part of the next generation at the club and was signed after an impressive period at Osasuna. Although he didn’t feature in the Spanish top flight, he racked up more than 50 appearances in the second tier and emerged as one of the most talented in his age group.

Merino is predominantly a central midfielder, but he was used at centre-back by Thomas Tuchel at times last season. He would add versatility and technical ability that Newcastle need more of in their squad. The 21-year-old is confident on the ball and composed in possession. His quick turn of pace is a dangerous weapon in transition and he reads the game well for a player of his age.

For Osasuna, he played mainly as a box-to-box midfielder, but he has the attributes to carry out other roles. Under Benitez, he could develop quickly and he would certainly represent a good signing for the Magpies as they attempt to establish themselves as a Premier League side once again.

How likely is a transfer?

The deal hasn’t been widely reported in recent weeks, but it has clearly been progressing behind the scenes and a move now looks likely. Craig Hope from the Daily Mail has tweeted that the midfielder is on Tyneside for a medical and it does look like the transfer will be completed imminently, before clarifying the contrasting reports from England and Spain.

Merino may not be well known in this country, but this is a significant transfer for Newcastle. Benitez has been frustrated this summer and he will be delighted that the club have managed to land a player that he personally wanted to bring to St James’ Park. This deal could be completed as early as tomorrow and supporters will be hoping there are more deals being done under the radar such as this one.

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

English Premier League

Lewis who? Adam Wilson on a path to Newcastle United first-team

After losing Lewis Gibson to Everton, Newcastle United have unearthed another gem in Adam Wilson.



Photo: Getty Images

Last July Newcastle United fans were left bitterly disappointed in the decision of Lewis Gibson to swap St James’ Park for Goodison Park.

Everton convinced the teenager to leave Tyneside for Merseyside in a deal the Liverpool Echo reported could eventually be worth around £6 million.

It was a shame to see the left-sided defender go and Newcastle fans believe they lost a huge talent, but those feelings have been slightly improved by the form of Adam Wilson at Newcastle.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Reports today are suggesting that Newcastle United are lining up a first professional contract for the player.

The Chronicle report that the Magpies will offer Wilson a two-year deal at the club, in the same week he was called up to the England under-18 side.

It is a reward for a player who has emerged as a regular in the Newcastle under-18s this season and since made his breakthrough into the under-23s.

The left-back is a far more attacking option than Gibson, but still operates in the same areas and has undoubtedly done a lot to let Newcastle forget all about their departed potential star.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

This week will see England’s under-18s take on Argentina and Belarus, after already beating Qatar 4-0 in the other international friendly at St George’s Park.

Interestingly both Wilson and Gibson are in the England squad for the fixtures. For the Qatar game, Wilson started and Gibson watched from the bench.

It seems that Newcastle might already have their replacement for the £6 million man in their ranks.

In the end, the Magpies could even end up having the last laugh should Wilson continue on his current trajectory.

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English Premier League

Will Newcastle United finally give Adam Armstrong his chance next season?

Adam Armstrong is currently in great form on loan at Blackburn Rovers.



Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this month, Blackburn Rovers forward Adam Armstrong was handed the League One Player of the Month award for February.

The England youth international, on loan from Newcastle United, thoroughly deserved the award, scoring four goals and bagging one assist in the same month he turned 21.

It was exactly the spell he needed to remind Toon supporters just how talented he is.

Armstrong, whose current record with Blackburn is seven goals in 12 games, was once considered the club’s most precocious talent.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

It is now four years since Armstrong became the club’s second youngest player in Premier League history, when he replaced Luuk de Jong against Fulham.

However, the then 17-year-old has not progressed how he would have wanted at his parent club

Despite scoring 20 goals in 40 games for Coventry City in League One, back in 2015-16, he struggled to at subsequent loan spells with Barnsley and Bolton Wanderers.

Now, however, he looks back to his best. So should Newcastle finally pull the trigger on the striker next season?

Armstrong, who helped England to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup crown, is now 21 years of age and chomping at the bit to get first-team action at St James Park.

Newcastle United fans would love to see Armstrong feature in the first team. After all, the youngster is one of their own and clearly an immense talent.

If given the chance, and some playing time, he could hopefully translate his form with Blackburn to St James’ Park next season.

(Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Not many youngsters have come through the ranks at Newcastle recently and Armstrong was always expected to be the next big star out the academy.

Hopefully, his excellent half of the season at Blackburn ends in promotion and further opportunities at the club he has supported since he was a little boy.

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English Premier League

Victor Fernandez furthers Newcastle United first-team claims on Spain tour

The 19-year-old impressed as he featured against Belgian outfit Royal Antwerp.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Newcastle United recently travelled to Spain for a training camp as they attempted to deal with three weeks without a competitive fixture.

Rafa Benitez is an experienced manager and he will have realised the danger that such a gap could pose for his team, especially when it came to the fitness of the squad.

He arranged a training camp in his homeland, which culminated in a unique 135-minute match against Belgian side Royal Antwerp.

It consisted of three periods of 45-minutes, which allowed the manager to give playing time to the fringe players in his squad ahead of the run-in.

Although it gave the opportunity to experiment, only two youth players made the trip to Spain.

Nathan Harker was the back-up goalkeeper as both Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow were struggling with injuries.

The other, Victor Fernandez, caught the eye of Newcastle supporters watching.

Fernandez will be encouraged about further involvement with the first-team, as he was the only young outfield player to feature against Royal Antwerp.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

That is a sign that Benitez considers the 19-year-old as one of the best prospects currently with the club.

The Spaniard joined the club just over a year ago from UE Cornella.

The signing went under the radar, but Benitez has an extensive scouting network and he obviously saw something in Fernandez.

Although he is predominantly a winger, he can play anywhere across the front-line is required.

Soon after joining the club, he spoke of not wanting to aim for too much too early when talking to the Newcastle United official club website:

“My purpose was not to make an impact really quickly, because I’m new and I have to get used to English football – it’s really different from Spain. I hope, little by little, I can keep doing good things here.”

Considering this was very quickly after his move to a new country, Fernandez’s words show maturity and show a glimpse into his character.

Benitez is a thorough manager who likes to know everything about the players that he brings to a football club.

There must have been something about the Spanish winger that made the Newcastle manager believe that he could adapt to English football.

There are no guarantees in football when it comes to young players fulfilling their potential.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

However, the fact that Fernandez was taken on the mid-season tour to Spain suggests that he is on the right path.

He would have been offered guarantees about a route to the first-team squad and his involvement against Royal Antwerp will have been a reward for his progression since moving to St James’ Park.

He came on for the final 45-minutes and showed flashes of his ability.

There was some nice interplay with Dwight Gayle that resulted in the teenager having a shot on goal.

His trickery and direct style caused problems for his marker and he continued to excite those watching when the ball was his feet.

There is more developing for him to do before he is ready for the first-team in competitive action, but his performance against Antwerp was a positive one.

There is clearly talent there and he will be a player to follow over the coming seasons.

Newcastle are at the early stage of their development under Rafa Benitez and that will mean opportunities are there for young players.

Fernandez could have the ability to take his.

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