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Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino wanted by Real Betis, Athletic Bilbao

Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino continues to be linked with a return to Spain.

Toon boss Rafa Benitez has insisted he wants to keep hold of Merino for next season, despite the youngster failing to secure a regular start under him.

AS says Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis are both keen on Merino and are in contact with his agents.

The midfielder, 21, signed permanently for Newcastle from Borussia Dortmund for a set fee of €7m in October.

However, there's no guarantee he will remain on Tyneside after a difficult campaign.

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Paul Vegas

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