Merkel set to leave Udinese for Greece

Udinese midfielder Alexander Merkel is on the verge of joining PAOK Salonika and ending what has been a largely disappointing five years in Serie A.

Whenever the name Merkel is mentioned in the same sentence as Greece, discussions are usually revolving around Germany’s bailing out of one of Europe’s most suffering economies.

The boot is now on the other foot, however, with Greece set to bail out Merkel, albeit Alexander and not Angela, the German Chancellor.

"I can confirm that there is interest on the part of PAOK and we’re evaluating it, like we evaluate all of the offers we receive," said Merkel’s agent Oscar Damiani to Tuttomercatoweb.com.

The 21-year-old is currently surplus to requirements at his third club in Italy. After a promising start to his Serie A career with AC Milan, he joined Genoa in 2011 and struggled even there to make the grade.

After a return to Milan, and then a second spell with Genoa, he arrived in Udine in January, but made just five appearances for the Zebrette.

"The lad is open to a move to Greece," continued Damiani. "Also because he wants to play more and not spend another year doing nothing. We’ll soon evaluate the situation and find a solution."

Merkel had previously been linked with a return to Germany, where he started his career with Stuttgart before a falling out led to his departure to Italy. Bundesliga side Hoffenheim were reported to be interested, but his agent says no official enquiry was made.

"At the moment, we have not had any offers from Germany, but let’s wait and see," he said.