Barcelona and Arsenal hold different cards in battle for Mikel Merino, Atletico Madrid with ground to make up

Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino looks set to leave the club this summer, with La Real likely to sell if he does not agree to a new deal, as he has just a year left on his deal. Merino will likely have his pick of three top clubs as it stands.

Atletico Madrid have been in talks for several weeks with Merino, having identified him as an option months ago, but Sport say they trail in third place in terms of the player’s preferences. Merino would supposedly choose Barcelona if it came down to an equal decision between the Blaugrana and Arsenal, but it seems unlikely to be that way.

Barcelona are required to take a decision on whether to sign him or not – they have weighed up the options of Amadou Onana, who is beyond their price range, and Joshua Kimmich, who is equally considered too expensive with Nico Williams becoming their prime target. Merino has been focusing on the Euros, but next week the Catalan side must tell his camp whether they will go for him or not.

The Gunners hold a different advantage though. Barcelona believe the deal could cost €20-25m, but Real Sociedad will accept the highest offer, and Arsenal can offer more both in terms of his contract and to La Real. It’s important to mention that Merino wants Real Sociedad to benefit from the operation, so he is unlikely to stand in the way of them holding out for the highest offer.

Previous reports have also stated that Merino is attracted by the prospect of testing himself in the Premier League again, and in Arteta, he would have a manager who is from the same region, and has the same agents. The Arsenal coach has already been in touch with Merino about a move too.

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