Mikel Merino is Athletic Club’s top transfer target and for good reason. The 20-year-old is one of the best young midfielders in the game and has dazzled with Spain’s U21 team. Last summer the Lions missed out on signing him when Osasuna chose instead to sell him to Borussia Dortmund where he has had a very difficult year that he barely featured in. In a recent interview with Diario de Navarra, Merino said that he is doing well and doesn’t feel any pressure about making a decision about his future.
“I am doing well, I don’t feel any pressure. My representative will let me know when there is something serious and feasible. There are always rumors, but if you are smart you will not let yourself get caught up in it all. I am confident in myself. The does not depend on me, but with the plans that the club has for me. I want to feel like a footballer. They will tell me if they want me to continue of if I have to find a way out. It depends on many things…the new coach, the squad, and my personal feelings. Summer has just begun and I don’t have an exact time to make a decision. It may be next week or later. I will make a decision when the opportunity is given.”
Merino did go on to discuss his year at Borussia Dortmund and wasn’t shy about saying that he believes he deserved more playing time. He also admitted that he had the chance to return to Osasuna in January but the Germans convinced him to stay with a promise of more playing time. That promise was not kept. Ultimately, he found out that he would not be a part of the Champions League squad through Twitter and not by his club which he was not happy about.
“Osasuna wanted to bring me back and the possibility caught my attention. But in the end, they [BVB] told me that they counted on me because I had raised my level and was very close to my teammates in production. I stayed because I thought I would be useful and I trusted their words, but then they did not trust in me too much. It was hard to see that they did not count on me [for Champions League], but I also found out on Twitter while I was on international duty. They did not explain it to me and that is the way I found out. I have not featured for the coach as much as I expected or think that I deserved, but I am at one of the best clubs in the world which means I am learning from some of the best players. All I have learned will be seen in the future.”
Those close to the situation remain firm that Mikel Merino wants to leave Borussia Dortmund and knows that he would be welcome at Athletic Club with the chance to become a starter down the road. He also is said to have interest from Real Betis, Valencia, and Real Sociedad as well. In the end, a decision is unlikely to be made until BVB names their new coach who will have a say in Merino’s future at the club. Athletic Club remains heavily interested in bringing the midfielder to the San Mames.