Liverpool reportedly want to sign “outstanding” £53m midfielder likened to Xabi Alonso
Several Reds players have expiring contracts or are nearing the end of their careers.
In the middle of the field, Jude Bellingham is Liverpool’s primary target, but there are other names being floated.
One of them is Mikel Merino, a star player for Real Sociedad and a veteran of 11 Spain international matches.
The 26-year-old is one of the candidates on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool wish list, according to Rudy Galetti.
Merino is a target for Liverpool.
Prior to playing for Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United, Merino rose through the Osasuna ranks.
He joined Sociedad in 2018 after leaving St James’ Park for a record £10.6 million, and he has since made 175 appearances for the La Liga team.
Merino has scored 18 goals and dished out 23 assists during his time wearing white and blue.
According to the Manchester Evening News, his contract has a €60 million (£53 million) release clause and expires in 2025.
La Liga Analysis published a thorough scouting report on Merino in December, which included information on the player’s playing style.
‘Merino is a formidable presence in the midfield for Real Sociedad and guards their midfield like no other,’ they wrote.
‘He is a very intelligent footballer who is difficult to beat.’
‘The best player in La Liga’
Last year, Sociedad manager Imanol Alguacil gave Merino some incredibly high praise.
“I said it before and I’ll say it again in case it’s not clear,” he told the Bangkok Post.
“Mikel Merino is the best player in La Liga.”
And Rafa Benitez compared Merino to Alonso when the former was at Newcastle.
“There are similarities,” Chronicle Live quote him as saying.
“I will tell you, though it maybe sounds stupid, that they are both Basque – from the Basque country.
“They are similar because of the position they are in and the way they read the game.
“Alonso’s long passing was better but Merino is more mobile and more dynamic.”