Real Madrid have reportedly identified Real Sociedad and Spain midfielder, Mikel Merino, as a potential transfer target for the next season.

According to a report from Catalan publication El Nacional, Real Madrid are planning their transfer strategies for the next summer and have identified several targets, with Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino on the list.

A product of the Osasuna youth academy, Merino went on to make close to 70 appearances for the club before signing for Borussia Dortmund in 2016. However, having failed to nail down a regular starting spot at Signal Iduna Park, he made the jump to Newcastle United and played for a season in the Premier League before returning to Spain with Real Sociedad in the summer of 2018.

Since his switch to San Sebastian, Merino has been one of the most reliable central midfielders in La Liga, establishing himself as a key figure for La Real, while also making his breakthrough into the Spanish national team. To date, he has made over 100 appearances for Sociedad, scoring 14 goals and setting up two more.

Merino’s progress at the La Liga outfit has led to him attracting admirers from the upper echelons. Indeed, Premier League giants Liverpool have shown an interest in the 25-year-old midfielder while Real Madrid have also now entered the picture for his signing for the summer of next year.

Mikel Merino (L) on Real Madrid’s radar (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid have a well-stocked midfield unit currently, but they will need to refresh their options come summer. Luka Modric is very much in the final leg of his illustrious career while his contract runs out at the end of the season as well. Toni Kroos has struggled with injuries this term and is not getting any younger while Casemiro is also starting to show signs of feeling the after-effects of playing relentlessly.

While Eduardo Camavinga was signed in the summer, the likes of Dani Ceballos and Isco do not have a future at the Santiago Bernabeu. That, coupled with Modric’s situation, warrants the addition of a new central midfielder at the club, making Merino a viable transfer target for Los Blancos.

At 25, the Spaniard has his best years in front of him, while the report states that he is valued at a reasonable €40 million despite his contract running till the summer of 2025. Merino has proven himself in La Liga for a number of seasons now and can develop into a mainstay in the middle of the park for Real Madrid for years to come.

However, it remains to be seen if the Merengues decide to pursue a deal for him or look elsewhere, with Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic also very much on the radars of Carlo Ancelotti & co.

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