Stat highlights what a gem Newcastle may have in Mikel Merino

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,...

Mikel Merino has been a brilliant signing for Newcastle United, taking little time to adapt to the Premier League.

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.

There is no question that Newcastle's decision to sign Mikel Merino on loan in the summer is already starting to look like a masterstroke with the Spaniard putting in a number of very good displays for the Magpies.

The loan may have cost £2.7 million, but the fact that the Chronicle reports that he will be available for a permanent move for just £6.5 million suggests that Newcastle could be on the verge of a game-changing bargain.

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,...

And while there are a number of areas of the 21-year-old's game that deserve praise, one statistic just highlights how excellent an addition he has been.

N'Golo Kante has undoubtedly cemented himself as one of the most important midfielders in the Premier League over the last couple of years, winning the title in both seasons, having left Leicester for Chelsea last summer. 

Rafa Benitez manager of Newcastle United gives a thumbs up as he celebrates victory and promotion after the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Preston North End at St...

Meanwhile, Idrissa Gueye has also established himself as a crucial player in Everton's system, so for Merino to be amongst those players in any area would be a major statement.

But in terms of tackles won so far this season, that is exactly where Merino is. The Borussia Dortmund-owned midfielder has won 19 challenges, leaving him just one behind Gueye and two behind Kante after seven games, as the table below shows. 

  TeamTotal TacklesTackles WonAppearances
N'Golo Kanté Chelsea 27 21 7
Idrissa Gueye Everton 25 20 7
Mikel Merino Newcastle 23 19 7
Christopher Schindler Huddersfield 26 19 7
Wilfred Ndidi Leicester 28 18 7
Aaron Mooy Huddersfield 27 17 7
Jordan Ayew Swansea 19 16 7
Oriol Romeu Southampton 17 15 7
Pablo Zabaleta West Ham 22 15 7
César Azpilicueta Chelsea 16 14 7

While he has attempted fewer challenges than both Kante and Gueye, Merino actually boasts the best success rate of the three at around 82 percent.

And Rafa Benitez will be hoping, if Merino does continue to play at such a high level, that Newcastle manage to get the permanent deal done as quickly as possible as he is shaping up to become a talisman for the side. 

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