Mikel Merino was solid for me throughout this Weekend League – I finished 12-6 and gave last two matches away for Rank II rewards. I used him in a 4231 La Liga team, where he partnered Valverde as my two CDMs – both on stay back and cover center. Although he isn't nearly as fast as Valverde, every single one of his other stats are very solid for this stage of the game, and his pace is still usable with a Shadow or Catalyst (I used Catalyst to improve his passing). He consistently wins aerial battles in the middle of the pitch with his 6'2 height and 81 jumping, which was really important as the rest of my team was pretty short. His distribution was clean and precise, nothing mindblowing like a KDB or Bruno, but he can play most of the balls you want to as long as you keep it on his left foot.
Consider using him as a CDM in a 2 or 3 man pairing. I wouldn't use him as a CM because he feels a tad slow and isn't the best dribbler.
Dribbling: Although Merino is 6'2, he has good dribbling stats, and left stick dribbling feels solid with him. 3* skills are a little annoying so try not to get caught in super tight spaces with him. He won't outmaneuver people, but he gets the job done.
Passing: Merino's passing is very solid. He can play almost all passes that you want him to, and his passing with a Catalyst is great for this time of the game. Through balls, short passes, long passes, he can do it all – but remember to use his left foot.
Defending: Merino's defending is surprisingly good, and definitely feels higher than 82. He consistently found himself in great positions to intercept through balls or bad passes from my opponents, and his length/strength allows him to bully most players off the ball except the likes of Lukaku and Haaland.
Physical: Merino's strength and aggression are really good for a CM, and helps him bully other CM's off the ball consistently. His jumping feels great, making him a good target from corner kicks, and his stamina was never a problem in any of my matches.
Pace: With a catalyst, Merino moves to 84 pace, but it doesn't really feel like 84 – maybe more like 78. He won't burst past many people, and he sometimes would get caught from behind on the rare occasions that I sent him through on goal. At the same time, it's nowhere near unusable, just be wary that he won't catch pacy attackers if they get past him.
Shooting: His shooting stats look solid, but I didn't really get many chances to score with him. With my instructions he doesn't get forward much – try a left-footed long shot once in a while, but he's not someone you're gonna want to shoot with often.
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