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Juventus 'eyeing double La Liga raid for Mikel Merino, Reinildo'

Juventus 'eyeing double La Liga raid for Merino, Reinildo'
© Reuters
Juventus reportedly set their sights on a double La Liga swoop for Real Sociedad midfielder Mikel Merino and Atletico Madrid left-back Reinildo this summer.

Juventus have reportedly added Real Sociedad's Mikel Merino and Atletico Madrid left-back Reinildo to their list of summer transfer targets.

The Bianconeri have been expected to prioritise a midfield rebuild in the upcoming window, having lost both Paul Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli to long-term suspensions this season.

Fagioli's seven-month ban for gambling on illegal platforms is nearing its end, and the Italian will be eligible to return at the start of next term, but Pogba was recently hit with the maximum four-year penalty for doping.

The French World Cup winner will therefore not be eligible to play again until 2027, a year after his Juventus contract expires, but he has confirmed that he will appeal his punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Should Pogba fail to get his suspension overturned or reduced, however, his four-year ban would almost certainly spell the end of his career with Juventus, who are expected to terminate his contract if the CAS upholds his punishment.

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba pictured in May 2023© Reuters

Juve were tipped to sign Arsenal's Thomas Partey and Tottenham Hotspur's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to replace Pogba in January, and the Old Lady could go back in for both players - whose deals expire in 2025 - this summer.

However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport - via Fichajes - Juventus are now broadening their search and have also been keeping tabs on Sociedad's much-coveted number eight Merino.

The 27-year-old had spells at Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United before moving to Sociedad in 2018, since when he has contributed to 55 goals in 232 matches, 25 of his own and 30 assists.

Merino has netted six goals and set up five more in 35 games across all competitions during the 2023-24 campaign and has now won 19 caps for the Spain national team, helping La Roja win the 2022-23 Nations League title.

However, the midfielder is another player who could be on the free agent market in 2025, and Juventus reportedly had scouts in attendance to watch Merino in action during the second leg of Sociedad's last-16 Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.

Reinildo celebrates scoring for Atletico Madrid in January 2024© Reuters

Merino - whose contract also includes a reported €60m (£51.2m) release clause - is just one of a handful of players on Juve's midfield shortlist, though, and other candidates include Atalanta BC's Teun Koopmeiners, Udinese's Lazar Samardzic and Atletico Madrid's Rodrigo de Paul.

The report adds that the latter's teammate Reinildo has also caught the eye of Bianconeri chiefs as they search for a left-back to replace Alex Sandro, who is expected to leave when his contract runs out at the end of the season.

Reinildo played a crucial role in Lille's 2020-21 Ligue 1 title triumph before making the move to Madrid in January 2022, and the 30-year-old has recorded one goal and one assist in 64 games for Diego Simeone's side.

Both of those contributions have come in the 2023-24 season, in which he has only made 10 appearances due to a cruciate ligament injury, but he has featured regularly for Atletico in 2024 since making a full recovery.

The Mozambique international would represent a versatile option for Massimiliano Allegri, having also featured as a centre-back in recent weeks, and like Merino, his deal is up in the summer of 2025.

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