Juventus Facing Formidable Competition in Race for La Liga Midfielder

Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino has emerged as a potential target for Juventus, but the Serie A heavyweights aren’t the only high-profile suitors. As per Fabrizio Romano, La Liga colossi Barcelona could provide stiff competition for the Spaniard’s signature.

Like Juventus, Los Blaugranas will undergo a squad overhaul this summer after being dethroned by Real Madrid in La Liga last season. New manager Hansi Flick is keen to put his stamp on the team, having replaced Xavi Hernandez in the dugout a week ago.

Merino is an option for Barcelona. His contract at San Sebastian runs out in 2025, and he’ll be available at a reasonable price this summer. Given Barca’s well-documented financial turmoil, it’s barely surprising they’ve named the ex-Newcastle United man a potential target.

That’s not good news for Juventus. Barcelona’s involvement in the race could lift the price. But Merino isn’t the Bianconeri’s prime objective. Atalanta’s Teun Koopmeiners is. Yet, it would take a small fortune to snap up the Dutchman, plus La Dea will fight ferociously to hold onto their star.

Despite reportedly agreeing upon personal terms with the 26-year-old, Juventus need a contingency plan if negotiations with Atalanta go south. Merino would be a decent fallback option, especially considering his acquisition wouldn’t require an obsolete sum.

Juventus could pursue Merino’s services irrespective of their quest to sign Koopmeiners. That’s if they fail to extend Adrien Rabiot’s expiring contract, which, at this point, looks probable, given the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder’s prohibitive wage demands.

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