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Mikel Merino has revealed how Rafael Benitez was a key factor in his decision to join Newcastle United on loan for the 2017/18 season, from Borussia Dortmund.
The 21-year-old made the move to Tyneside – with the obligation to buy should an appearance target, thought to be 20, be met – after featuring sparingly for Borussia Dortmund in his debut season in the Bundesliga.
He did, however, rack up 67 appearances for Osasuna between 2014 and 2016, and has featured six times for Spain’s Under-21 side; prompting Athletic Bilbao to court his services only to lose out to the Premier League outfit this summer.
The loan deal has cost the St. James’ Park outfit £2.7m, with a permanent fee of £6.5m set should the deal be completed, according to the Newcastle Chronicle.
“It’s a big club, it’s a Premier League club, an historic club,” he told Radio MARCA. They’ve shown faith in me.
“They wanted me in the last transfer window and they’ve come back in for me this summer and above all they’ve got a coach who will teach me a lot and will help me to become a better player.
“He [Benitez] is a coach with an incredible CV and we know what he wants and what he likes, I’ve felt wanted by them for a long time.
“All footballers want to feel wanted. I’ve been made to feel 100% wanted here. I want to help the team in any way that I can and I want to play as much as possible.
“The fans are incredible here, I’ve been able to go out and see a bit of the city and it’s a really nice place with really nice people. It’s a great experience for me.”