NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND – MAY 04: Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez applauds the support. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

Newcastle United have had some transfer shockers in recent times.

Signing a striker for £40 million only for him to score two league goals in his first season and allowing a future World Cup winner to leave the club for less than £10 million are two moves that don’t look great, but it’s a sale made by Rafa Benitez that may be the biggest transfer error the Magpies have made in recent memory.

Indeed, Benitez oversaw the sale of Mikel merino to Real Sociedad back in 2018 for around £10 million, after the Spanish club activated his release clause. and since then the midfielder has made a mockery of the decision to have such a low clause in his contract.

Merino has been a star for Sociedad, being named in WhoScored’s La Liga Team of the Season last term, and he’s also become a regular in the Spanish national team, playing five games for the national team in 2020.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – AUGUST 26: Newcastle United’s Joselu celebrates scoring his side’s first goal with Mikel Merino. (Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

The midfielder seems like he’d be a perfect player for Steve Bruce right now, the gaffer has a huge selection headache in the middle of the park, with fans recently calling for Isaac Hayden to replace Jeff Hendrick in the starting XI.

Would there be such a debate if Newcastle had a bona fide Spanish international in the squad? Probably not.

 

Mike Ashley has overseen some horrific dealings at St James’ Park, but the fact that Merino’s potential wasn’t spotted and that he was allowed to leave so cheaply is almost unforgivable.

Instead of lining up with a Spain international in the heart of their midfield, Newcastle have been forced to continuously look elsewhere for answers.

Be that an underwhelming loan move for a player like Nabil Bentaleb or a look towards youth with the emerging Longstaff brothers.

Merino being allowed to leave has been made to look so much worse by United’s failure to replace him with anyone of a similar calibre.

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN – JANUARY 17: Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad celebrates. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
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