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Barcelona set to face Atletico Madrid battle for 27-year-old Spanish international

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Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images

With Barcelona scouring the market for a new pivot midfielder this summer, Real Sociedad star Mikel Merino has emerged as a transfer target.

The 27-year-old Spanish international is entering the final year of his contract with La Real and talks over a renewal are not progressing as planned.

As such, there is pessimism within Real Sociedad about his continuity, with reports even suggesting that they could be forced to sell him for just around €25 million despite the presence of a €60 million release clause.

Atletico Madrid enter race

Now, though, MARCA reports that Barcelona are not alone in the race to sign Mikel Merino as La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid also want the Real Sociedad star.

Los Rojiblancos initially saw the former Newcastle United midfielder as an unattainable target due to his big release clause.

Merino could spark a transfer battle. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

But the fact that Merino has still not renewed and there is not much optimism at La Real about his continuity has given them hopes of signing the midfielder.

Furthermore, the Spanish midfielder already knows that Atletico Madrid want him and does not see it with bad eyes to move to the Metropolitano to, among other things, continue playing in the Champions League.

As such, Merino could follow in Antoine Griezmann’s footsteps and leave Real Sociedad for Atletico Madrid, along with fellow teammate Robin Le Normand, who is also a target for Diego Simeone’s side.

Given that Barcelona view Merino as a key target, they will need to act swiftly if they indeed wish to beat Atletico Madrid land the Spaniard to reinforce their midfield department.

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