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Newcastle sign Merino on permanent deal

Mikel Merino has joined Newcastle on a permanent basis. Credit: PA

Mikel Merino has completed a permanent move to Newcastle from Borussia Dortmund after an impressive start to his career in England, the Magpies have announced.

The 21-year-old midfielder arrived at St James' Park on loan in July with the possibility of a full transfer included in the deal, and has done so well on Tyneside that the club has handed him a five-year contract.

Manager Rafael Benitez told NUFC TV: "I'm really pleased we have been able to bring Mikel to the club permanently. He has played very well since he joined us.

"He has settled in quickly, has a lot of quality on the ball and is keen to learn - that is a crucial part of his future development."

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Starting line-ups: Swansea City vs Newcastle United

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Newcastle could face Swansea trip without Benitez

Newcastle boss Benitez had surgery during the international break. Credit: PA

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez will not hold his usual pre-match press conference on Friday after undergoing surgery during the international break.

Benitez went into hospital for a procedure to address an infection resulting from a hernia operation he had two years ago.

As a result, the 57-year-old Spaniard has been absent from the training pitch this week and fitness coach Francisco de Miguel Moreno will take over his media duties ahead of Sunday's Premier League game against Swansea.

It remains to be seen whether Benitez will be able to make the trip to south Wales, although he is keen to take his place in the dugout as the Magpies aim to build on their first win of the season against West Ham before the international break.

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