Merino is eligible to play for Bilbao due to his Basque ancestry. He was born in Pamplona and started off his professional career in the city with Osasuna before making the switch to Borussia Dortmund in 2016.
After playing just nine games in Germany however, the Magpies snapped up the player on loan, initially until the end of the season. Newcastle have however now triggered a clause which means the 21 year old will sign for the Premier League club permanently next summer.
El Gol‘s report is therefore all the more surprising considering Merino’s immediate future is certain to be on Tyneside. The Spanish publication suggests the Magpies’ interest in Atlanta’s Miguel Almiron could see Merino departing for around €20m (£17.6m), but that seems highly unlikely.
Almiron is likely to be one target that Newcastle are looking at for the number 10 role to provide competition for Ayoze Perez, while Merino is competing with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey in central midfield. This rumour seems to be based on very little credible information.