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Newcastle boss Benitez: Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao rumours for Merino no surprise

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez admits transfer talk for Mikel Merino is no surprise.

Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad have both been strongly linked, with one report suggesting that the Spanish U21 has 'asked' to leave Newcastle United this summer.

Benitez told the Evening Chronicle: “I don't need to talk too much about his future. He has to train well, be available and I know the agents - we were talking in the past about how he is doing.

“His father was in Spain, we met his father in Spain - we were talking about him. So we share a lot of information.

“It's fine. It's just a question about where he is from - The Basque country.

“It is always an attention for Real Sociedad and Bilbao because they do not have too many players, especially players of his level. So you cannot stop that."

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