Who is Mikel Merino? The powerhouse former Premier League man Mikel Arteta wants at Arsenal

Mikel Merino has been linked with a move to Arsenal this summer
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino. The 28-year-old scored the winner for Spain against Germany at Euro 2024 on Friday.

Merino came on as a second-half substitute at the Stuttgart Arena but struck the decisive blow deep into extra-time to secure a 2-1 victory and their passage into the semi-final. The former Newcastle star rose highest to guide Dani Olmo's cross into the corner, leaving Manuel Neuer stranded.

Aside from that moment, Merino looked assured in midfield and did not look out of place alongside Rodri and Olmo. He has featured in every game for Spain at the Euros, though he has started just one out of their five matches. However, with Pedri out of the semi-final against France, Merino could be thrown into the XI.

Although Merino is no doubt fully focused on international duties, his club future has appeared as a hot topic in recent times. He has one year left on his contract at Sociedad and there is a possibility he could leave this summer. And a shock move back to the Premier League with Arsenal is not out of the question.

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According to The Athletic, the Gunners want to sign a new central midfielder this summer and Merino has emerged as someone they are interested in. It's added that Arteta is a big fan of 'talent and physicality' and believes he can add an extra dimension to the Arsenal squad ahead of next season.

Standing at 6ft 2in, Merino is a powerhouse of a midfielder who can dominate opponents with his strength, aerial ability and physicality in and out of possession. On the ball, Merino has the vision to pick out a pass and can often help control a game. Another quality he possesses is that he is left footed and would provide balance in a similar way that Granit Xhaka did before he left to join Bayer Leverkusen last summer.

Merino started his career at Osasuna and emerged as a regular first-teamer before making his way to Borussia Dortmund in February 2016. However, Merino did not spent long at Signal Iduna Park and moved to Newcastle initially on loan before making the switch permanent.

He made just 25 appearances for the Magpies, however, and left to join Sociedad in July 2018. Merino has been at the La Liga side ever since, playing 242 matches in all competitions. He impressed in the Champions League last season as Sociedad reached the last 16.

Speaking on his future, he recently told Relevo: "The next step has to come from within, from me, from analysing myself, seeing what player I am now, where I am and where I want to go.

"Rumours are something that I do not give importance to because I believe that a Euros is the most important thing you can face and requires 100% of your attention."