Mikel Merino is currently attracting attention from big clubs around Europe who hope to take advantage of his contract situation.

The midfielder’s existing Real Sociedad deal expires in June 2025 and the club haven’t had any joy in renewal talks yet.

La Real were able to sign Merino in 2018 thanks to a €12m clause he had in his Newcastle United contract. That gave him power over choosing his next club and he’s in a similar situation again, with Real Sociedad pressured to offer a reduced fee for a summer move.

Merino is with Spain’s national squad at Euro 2024, and that gave him the opportunity to have a chat with Faro de Vigo, and Newcastle United came into it.

Asked what kind of relationship he had with the fans of the Premier League club, Merino didn’t hold back.

Faro de Vigo quote him as saying: “Very good. What marked me the most in Newcastle was the stadium, the fans. I think it was a unique life, feeling what St-James’ Park is, I will always have it in my heart and mind because it is something unique. Get a ball in your area and people go crazy shouting as if you were about to score a goal, and I said ‘let’s see, there are 80 metres to there and they are 11 ahead. It is impossible for us to score a goal’. But people believed it and encouraged you to move forward.”

Asked what his next step is, Merino said: “If there is one thing I am happy about throughout this journey, it is that the steps I have taken in my career have been perfect and at the right time to continue growing as a footballer who has undergone a growth process. And I don’t want it to end.”

Arsenal are one of the clubs to have been linked and a return to the Premier League may be an option, although Merino wasn’t specifically asked about that and didn’t want to give away any clues.