Mikel Merino discusses future amid Barcelona and Atletico Madrid links – ‘The next step will come from within’

Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino is being heavily linked with a move away from the Basque Country this summer, as he draws to a close a sixth year in Donostia-San Sebastian. He has just a year left on his deal at La Real, and the latest reporting is that he will not sign a new contract with the Txuri-Urdin.

Merino joined La Real from Newcastle United, having left Osasuna as a teenager for Borussia Dortmund. Describing himself as a ‘traveler and an adeventurer’, Merino was more than happy to explain to Sport the benefits of moving abroad.

“Traveling is something that shapes you as a player and that shapes you as a person. Having experiences, and not only of other styles of football. Knowing another culture, other languages, another way of expressing yourself, of understanding relationships… I think it makes you grow, it makes you understand how groups work and open your mind to other ways of behaving and managing things. It makes you a more complete person.”

“It’s one of the things that explains why this generation is doing so well. Because we are people who have left our comfort zone, we have left home and we have experienced positive and negative situations far away and alone. We are now formed as a complete and mature team.”

From his time at Newcastle United, he took the physicality of the league, the backing of St. James’ Park and playing against Eden Hazard as standout experiences, while at Dortmund he singled out midfielder Gonzalo Castro as someone he learned from, as well as the Westfalenstadion, where he played in front of 81,360 fans every week, something he remembers precisely.

“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.”

Of course the question that lay dormant was about his future. Merino gave little away about his next destination, but did explain the decision-making process.

“The next step has to come from within, from me, from analysing myself, seeing what player I am now, where I am and where I want to go. And what is the way to do it. Now at a football level I still have one more year at Real and I am in the best possible place to live and grow. At the level of rumours, it is something that I do not give importance to because I believe that a Euros is the most important thing you can face and requires 100% of your attention. So when the Euro is over and the days go by, I will meet with the club and my representative, to see what they have to say to me and what they don’t, and we’ll see.”

“You never know where football can take you, and I am willing to continue my career wherever my heart and my head ask me to.”

While he did not rule out signing a new contract at La Real, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have been strongly linked with him, and Arsenal are the latest side to be talked about as a contender for his signature. If indeed he does turn down a renewal at Real Sociedad, then it seems likely they will seek a sale.

Tags Arsenal Atletico Madrid Barcelona Mikel Merino Real Sociedad
La Liga - Club News