Newcastle have confirmed that Spanish midfielder Mikel Merino has left the club after just one season for Real Sociedad for a fee understood to be £10million.
Merino, who signed a five-year deal in October last year after initially arriving on a 12-month loan deal from Borussia Dortmund, has left after struggling to win a place in the team during the second half of the campaign.
A club statement said: ‘Mikel Merino has completed a permanent move to La Liga side Real Sociedad.
Mikel Merino tweeted a picture of himself signing a contract for La Liga side Real Sociedad
The Spanish midfielder has agreed to join the club and leave a long-term contract at Newcastle
‘The 22-year-old leaves St. James’ Park for an undisclosed fee having made 24 Premier League appearances for the Magpies, scoring once in a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
‘Everyone at Newcastle United wishes Mikel the best for the future.’
Benitez had hoped to keep Merino, a player he rates highly, and his exit means there is further work to be done on the rebuilding front.
Merino pictured playing for Newcastle last season against Everton in the Premier League
The news came shortly after it was confirmed that Chelsea midfielder Kenedy had agreed to go on loan for a second consecutive season at St James’ Park.
Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez tweeted on Thursday night and referred to the nature of football.
He was sad to see Merino go but delighted to be welcoming Kenedy back to Tyneside.
He tweeted: ‘This is what fooball is about, one friend is leaving the club and other is here again. Good luck in Real Sociedad, I will miss u friend! Kenedy, I think we are going to have fun again.’
Ayoze Perez tweeted his former team-mate Merino to tell him he would miss him on Tyneside
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