SEVILLA will move for Newcastle United midfielder Mikel Merino if Ever Banega completes his proposed move to Arsenal.

Banega’s representatives have held talks with Arsenal officials after the Gunners’ new boss, Unai Emery, identified the Argentinian as one of his leading midfield targets.

Emery worked with Banega at both Valencia and Sevilla, and while Sevilla officials are determined to do all they can to hold on to the 29-year-old, they are also preparing a contingency plan in case he moves to the Emirates.

In such a scenario, the La Liga side will make an approach of their own to Newcastle in an attempt to sign Merino, who has already attracted interest from Spanish duo Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad this summer.

Merino joined Newcastle from Borussia Dortmund last summer, but while his early appearances in a black-and-white shirt caught the eye, he struggled to hold down a place in the first team in the second half of last season.

He slipped behind Jonjo Shelvey, Mo Diame and Isaac Hayden in the midfield pecking order, and Rafael Benitez could opt to cash in if he is able to spend the money raised from Merino’s departure.

Benitez is keen to sign a winger this summer, and with a deal for Chelsea’s Kenedy proving difficult to seal, Andros Townsend is emerging as an increasingly attractive option.

Crystal Palace are willing to entertain offers for the England international this summer, having signed Townsend from Newcastle two years ago when they triggered a relegation release clause in his previous Magpies contract.

The 26-year-old has had a relatively successful two seasons at Selhurst Park, although Palace boss Roy Hodgson is understood to have been disappointed at his return of five league goals from 72 appearances.

That has persuaded him to listen to offers for Townsend’s services this summer, although Palace are unlikely to sell for anything less than £20m.

That would break Newcastle’s transfer record, and it remains to be seen whether Mike Ashley is willing to commit that kind of sum to the purchase of a midfielder when Benitez is also desperate to sign a new striker before the transfer window closes at the end of August.