Borussia Dortmund and Spain under-21 midfielder Mikel Merino has officially joined Newcastle United on loan for the 2017-18 season, the Premier League club has confirmed.
The youngster leaves Dortmund just a year after joining from Osasuna in Spain's second division, where he had spent the prior two seasons.
While the move is initially a loan, Newcastle will be required to buy Merino if he plays in a certain number of matches in the upcoming season. Earlier reports had the fee at €7 million, while Goal understands Merino must play in 20 games to trigger that option..
"It feels good and I'm very happy to be here, to be part of this club,” Merino said in a statement. “I'm looking forward to touching the ball, meeting my new team-mates and starting to play football.
"I know it's a great club and a really nice city. I had different options but I think this is the right place for me to play."
The 21-year-old midfielder joined Dortmund last summer for €3.8 million but did not feature much for the Bundesliga side, making just eight appearances and two starts in league last season.
Merino was also in Spain's squad for their runners-up finish at the UEFA Under-21 Championships, though he started just one game in the tournament and briefly appeared as a substitute in one other.
"Mikel is a midfielder with talent, an under-21 international for Spain,” Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez told the club’s official website. “He's a good size, has quality on the ball and he's very, very focused and professional. Hopefully he's the kind of player we can improve a lot - he certainly has the mentality to get better and better.”
Transfer rumours swirled for Merino after he was granted permission to skip the beginning of the club’s camp in Switzerland, with Dortmund confirming he was in talks with a prospective club.
The midfielder had been targeted by Athletic Club and Real Sociedad in La Liga, but opted for a move to England instead.
Merino becomes Newcastle’s fifth signing this summer as the club aims to strengthen themselves ahead of their return to the Premier League after spending last season in the English Championship.