Barcelona interested in Real Sociedad's Mikel Merino

Barcelona's search for a pivot takes another unexpected turn as the club has set its sights on Real Sociedad's Mikel Merino
Real Sociedad v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga EA Sports
Real Sociedad v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga EA Sports / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Add another name to Barcelona's growing list of options to find a replacement for Sergio Busquets. The newest addition is from Real Sociedad but it's not Martin Zubimendi.

According to Sport's Toni Juanmartí, the Catalan side has set their sights on Mikel Merino will make a move in the coming weeks pending financial fair play regulations.

Merino's contract with Real Sociedad ends in 2025 and according to the report, his potential incorporation would be a lower cost alternative to Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich.

For those wondering, no, Merino is not a natural pivot, a position Barcelona desperately need to fill. In fact, of the names linked with the club, only Zubimendi and Guido Rodriguez, who now seems like a longshot to join after all but agreeing to a move, are the only pivots on Barcelona's list.

However, if Hansi Flick is going to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, then having a true pivot isn't exactly a necessity. Merino, alongside another midfielder, would be at the base of the midfield in this formation. It'll work a bit similar to when Xavi had Busquets and De Jong during his first full season.

Still, this potential move is not something that is going to excite many Barcelona fans. In contrast, it's likely to divide opinion.

An earlier report indicated that Hansi Flick was going to do what he could to try to bring in Kimmich. Whether negotiation with La Real instead of Bayern Munich is going to be more straightforward remains to be seen.

Regardless, in terms of name recognition it's a step down. Flick has yet to sit down with Barcelona's sporting department to plan out reinforcements and possible exits ahead of next season so expect Merino's name, alongside others, to be a point of discussion.

Merino is unlikely to be the last name linked to Barcelona as they've made it clear they're prioritizing a pivot given how things worked out with Oriol Romeu. Xavi improvised with Andreas Christensen during the latter part of the season with mixed results.

Marc Casadó, who plays as a defensive midfielder with Barça Atlètic, has renewed with the club and is expected to do preseason with the first team and could be another option.


Given Barcelona's financial constraints, they can't afford to get this signing wrong, especially if they're going to spend a significant amount.