Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing Mikel Merino, who has a €60 million release clause, as a long-term successor for Sergio Busquets.
According to a report by Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona seem to be laying down the groundwork to identify a long-term successor for Sergio Busquets. To that end, the Catalan giants have turned their attention towards Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino, who has a €60 million release clause.
Mikel Merino has established himself as one of the best midfielders in La Liga since joining Real Sociedad from Newcastle United in the summer of 2018. A mainstay in midfield for La Real, the 24-year-old has made quite an impact with his technical prowess and defensive acumen.
So far for Real Sociedad, Merino has mad 111 appearances while chipping in with 12 goals and as many assists. His progress over the last few years has caught the eye of one of the biggest clubs in Europe, with Barcelona showing a keen interest in securing his services this coming summer.
Barcelona are scouring for a long-term successor for Sergio Busquets, who is closing in on the final phase of his career. While the veteran Spanish international is still going strong, the time is right to lay down a succession plan for the 32-year-old, especially considering Miralem Pjanic has struggled to make an impact this term.
In fact, Pjanic has also been linked with a summer exit, with Atletico Madrid and Manchester United being named as possible suitors. In case Pjanic is offloaded after just one season, Barcelona will need to sign a replacement, who can, in effect, come in to be the understudy to Busquets before taking over as the first-choice holding midfielder after a few years.
To that end, Barcelona have been linked with Manuel Locatelli and Eduardo Camavinga, with Mikel Merino on their radar as well. However, there is a potential thorn in their sides, with the 24-year-old having a release clause worth €60 million in his deal with Real Sociedad.
This exit clause rises from €60 million to €65 million in 2022, so putting off a move till next year might not be a prudent decision either. So, it will be interesting to see if Barcelona can drive down Merino’s valuation by negotiating an acceptable sum with their fellow La Liga outfit.