Will Newcastle United's Mikel Merino be the best signing of next summer?

Newcastle player Mikel Merino (l) is challenged by Phillipe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St. James Park on October 1,...

The Newcastle United loanee impressed on international duty again on Tuesday night.

Newcastle player Mikel Merino in action during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Stoke City at St. James Park on September 16, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Ask Newcastle United fans who their best summer signing was and the vast majority won't even have to think about their answer: Mikel Merino.

The Spain Under-21 midfielder joined Newcastle on a season-long loan from Borussia Dortmund in the summer and has looked hugely impressive in his first seven Premier League appearances this season.

Newcastle player Mikel Merino (l) is challenged by Phillipe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St. James Park on October 1,...

Merino simply oozes class and, fortunately for the Magpies, they have the option to sign him for a bargain £6.5 million in the summer - providing he makes 20 appearances under Rafael Benitez this season - according to The Chronicle.

Based on his early-season performances under Benitez, that might well turn out to be an absolute steal and the Spanish manager deserves huge credit for bringing him in.

Newcastle United player Mikel Merino in action  during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on August 13, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne,...

Benitez's summer signings have been rather hit and miss so far, with £12 million Jacob Murphy - his most expensive addition - struggling for regular football, while £5 million striker Joselu is enduring a tough start to life in the North-East.

Merino scored one and set up another for Spain Under-21s on Tuesday night in just two more examples which prove that Newcastle have a real gem on their hands.

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