Not long after Mikel Merino arrived at Newcastle, it was clear we had a real player on our hands.
The midfielder was graceful in possession, gliding past players and picking out passes, whilst also winning tackles and breaking up play in the middle of the park.
He was relatively unknown when he arrived from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, but he quickly showed his class.
But before he could really make his mark in the Premier League he was gone. An ill-timed back injury ruled him out of action for a while, allowing Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame to step up and form a stunning partnership. In the second half of the season, our strong run of form was based on the solid foundation we had in midfield.
Merino couldn’t get back in the team, and ultimately left that summer for Real Sociedad. We didn’t even get much money, with a small release clause in his contract allowing him to leave for just £10 million.
He ended his Newcastle career with just one goal, scoring the winner against Crystal Palace on a rainy day in October 2017. And ahead our latest 1-0 win over Palace on Saturday, Merino reacted to a video of his goal, writing on Twitter: “Amazing feeling. Great memories.”
Toon fans responded in their droves, with a clear message for the Spaniard – you left St James’ Park far too early and we miss you.
Newcastle fans wish Merino was still a Geordie
Come back please
— Robbie 🏴 Norse King Of FT (@ManL1keMatty) December 21, 2019
Left to early 😢😢
— Kyle (@Geordiekylee) December 21, 2019
Was guttered when this lad left. Hes a top top talent!
— Paul Oxley (@NuFcPRO) December 21, 2019
We miss you. Best midfielder we’ve had! Complete midfielder
— tom (@Tommy_Da_Tank) December 21, 2019
Come back to us should have never been sold #baller
— Lee Nolan (@LeeNolan999) December 21, 2019
You made great memories for us Mikel We were sad you let Always welcome back Merry Christmas 🎄
— ray atkinson (@driver62637172) December 21, 2019
Wish you’d stayed longer, such a promising star. Hope you’re shining elsewhere right now 👌🏻
— Anthony Rhodes (@AnthonyRhodes9) December 21, 2019