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Go for it Rafa – This £16m midfield beast could be the perfect replacement for Mikel Merino

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Why Newcastle United should replace Mikel Merino with Ndiaye

Newcastle United enjoyed an impressive return to the Premier League under Rafael Benitez last season as they finished 10th in the league. The Magpies didn’t have the best of starts to their campaign but they certainly finished it in style by thrashing Chelsea 3-0 at St. James’ Park.

The club should now focus on preparing for the new season by making some additions and alterations to their squad. Newcastle could do better next season if they are smart in the transfer market.

The Magpies have been linked with Stoke City midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The Tyneside club are reportedly interested in signing the former Galatasaray man as reports claim that Mikel Merino could leave Newcastle for Real Sociedad this summer.

Mikel Merino

Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Real Betis are also tracking Merino but Real Sociedad are in pole position to sign the player after the club agreed to meet the Spaniard’s £10m-plus release

And Benitez has identified Stoke City midfielder Ndiaye as the perfect replacement for the outgoing Merino.

The 27-year-old only joined the Potters from Galatasaray in January but he managed to make an impression in the Premier League, despite the club suffering relegation last season. He generally operates as a central midfielder but he is also capable of playing a more defensive role in the middle of the park.

Ndiaye made a total of 13 appearances in the Premier League last season, scoring 2 goals and providing 1 assist. He was one of Stoke’s brightest performers in an otherwise disastrous campaign which saw the club relegated to the Championship.

He possesses all the qualities for a top-class central midfielder. Ndiaye averaged a pass success rate of 82.2% in the Premier League last season. He’s also defensively solid and is always willing to track back and support the backline.

Read more: Why Newcastle could bag the coup of the summer by landing this classy English midfielder

It has been claimed that Stoke are open to the idea of loaning Ndiaye out or selling him for around £16m in the summer. And Newcastle should definitely make a move for the Senegal international, who played one game at the World Cup as his country failed to clear the group stage hurdle.

The idea of playing for the Magpies in the Premier League could be an enticing prospect for the player, whose addition is certain to strengthen the Tyneside club.