Real Betis find alternative to Merino
Real Betis have lined up an alternative to Newcastle's Mikel Merino in case he prefers to go to Athletic Bilbao or Real Sociedad.
The Andalusian club is reportedly back in for David Lopez after they were beaten to the midfielder's signature by Napoli four years ago.
Now at Espanyol, Rac 1 radio station claim Real Betis are preparing a £8.5million bid for the 28-year-old, days after newspaper Sport revealed there was a fresh interest.
And that is being interpreted as a signal that Merino may not be on his way to the Estadio Benito Villamarin, although they remain one of the three La Liga sides keen on the Magpies player.
The 20-year-old is understood to be weighing up the pros and cons of each club with Betis having at least one advantage as the only one of the trio that will play in Europe next season - in the Europa League.
But a move back to the Basque country may appeal to Merino, who was formerly at Pamplona-based Osasuna.
Simon Barlow has a wealth of journalism experience and in-depth knowledge in a number of sports. As well as his extensive football knowledge, Simon is also well versed on cricket, tennis, American Football and cycling amongst others.