The Mikel Merino saga has dominated the headlines in Bilbao for well over a year now. After missing out on the midfielder last summer, the Lions have come in full force in hopes of brining him to the San Mames this time around. The 21-year-old barely played last season and doesn’t want a repeat of that difficult time. He knows that Kuko Ziganda would give him regular playing time and, with that being the case, has taken a huge step towards joining Athletic Club.
According to a report from Javier Ortiz De Lazcano of El Correo, Mikel Merino told Borussia Dortmund last week that he wants to leave the German club and join Athletic. There was an option for him to go out on loan, but the midfielder has been very firm that he wants to be sold outright to the Basque giants.
Merino agreed to personal terms with Athletic nearly two months ago and understands the role that he would have under Ziganda. The 21-year-old would not only play regular minutes, he would have the chance to battle for a starting role alongside Beñat. He believes that Athletic is the best place for him to continue his career and has rejected other offers from clubs like Real Sociedad and Valencia. Merino is set on a move to the San Mames and officially requesting to be sold is a very big deal that could push the transfer through.
According to sources close to the situation, Athletic has tabled an offer of around €8 million and believes that it will be enough to sign the midfielder. New BVB manager Peter Bosz has not guaranteed Merino regular minutes which has further strengthened his resolve for a move away and the hope is that the deal will get completed this week. The two clubs are said to be in advanced negotiations with an outcome seemingly just around the corner, perhaps any day now.