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Merida back to Spain?

Spanish newspaper AS reports this morning that Fran Merida has signed a 5 year deal with Atletico Madrid to return to Spain at the end of this season.

The 19 year old midfielder was offered, and had apparently verbally agreed a new contract with Arsenal back in September but this was never signed. Commenting at the time Wenger said "Some clubs are doing work behind our back to destabilise him. We cannot stop them but it is a fact."

Merida had joined Arsenal in 2005 in controversial circumstances from Barcelona's youth team and 2 years later was ordered by Spanish courts to pay Barca around £2m for breaching personal pre-contract terms, a fee believed to have been paid by Arsenal.

He opened his senior goal scoring account with a tremendous strike in the Carling Cup win over Liverpool at the Emirates in October. After the game he was delighted to have scored and expressed his desire to secure a new contract.

"At the moment I am talking to the Club so I don't know what is going to happen," he said at the time.

"I am really happy here so hopefully everything is going to be OK. We are going to sit down and talk about [a new contract]."

If the reports are true then Merida will leave on a free transfer which, though sad for a player with obvious talent, is understandable given those like Ramsey who are ahead of him. Merida's agent Joseba Diaz has said that Fran has 'a disease for Atletico' and that 'little can be done about it'

With a surfeit of young talent that the club has developed and acquired all impatient to get into a first team which, with players like Cesc, Denilson, Song and Diaby, is still quite young it is inevitable that some players, as with Bentley and Sidwell previously, will not want to wait for their first team chance to come. It appears that Merida, who will be 20 before the season ends, doesn't see an early route into the Arsenal team.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 5 2010

Time: 9:28AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Disappointing to lose him given how highly Wenger rates him and the investment we've made in developing him. Think he could have become an excellent player for us if he continued to develop under Wenger.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 09:39:00

I can understand if he chooses to go to Madrid. A young spanish guy who loves Athletico returning to his native land. He has alot of young talented competition in front of him and is unlikely to play alot more football this season. I would prefer him to stay with us but to go out on loan for the rest of this year and possibly next year.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 10:37:00

That's a shame it really is. I know a guy who runs the lines at Arsenal "behind closed door" games and when Fran first came to the club he was practically wetting himself at the quality of this kid. I think he has the quality to really be a big player ..... but so do all the players in front of him. The problem with having such a massive collection of brilliant young talent is that they can't all play, and we will lose some of them.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 10:58:00

Realistically at the moment we have Fabregas, Song, Denilson, Diaby & Ramsey ahead of him to form the middle 3 with Nasri, Eduardo, Arshavin, Rosicky & Walcott ahead of him in the attacking births. With Vela, Wilshere and Eboue in the mix and any possible new signings in the near future making it extra hard for him to break through
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 11:12:00

Yeah it would be difficult for him. I always thought that Vela might be another player who'd move on too, but thankful he decided to stay. As soon as he moved out left on Sunday he looked the dogs *********.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 11:31:00

Not bothered. Was never going to be ahead of Ramsey, Diaby, Denilson, Song and that other Spanish dude.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 11:31:00

Losing him on a free isn't good either. I always thought he and Cesc could have dovetailed nicely together a la Xavi and Iniesta.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 12:02:00

Ramsey will be the Iniesta to Cesc's Xavi.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 12:27:00

I always hoped he would turn out to be the left-footed Fabregas. Its a shame if he's off but it can't have been easy for him living in Cesc'c shadow, having come from the same academy.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 12:28:00

Tom14, I dont know if Ramsey is a Iniesta kind of player. To me he is more of a Gerrard. Ramsey is versatile, physically and mentally strong and has good shooting and passing ability. The nearest we had to an Iniesta was when Hleb wore the no 13 shirt.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 13:25:00

Shame about Hleb really. Shame about Reyes & Flamini too. Careers down the pooper
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 13:41:00

I know that, im just talking about partnerships.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 13:56:00

Just goes to show Paul, the grass is never as green as it is at Arsenal.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 14:21:00

Young Guns has reported that a UEFA tribunal will decide on the fee Atletico have to pay us for Merida as he qualifies as a young player being less than 24 years old. Looks like we could at best only hope to recover our investment in the player financially.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 15:13:00

Yes - it seems are Arsenal are due 4 years training costs and Barca will also get something for the 3/4 years he was with them from 12 years of age. The formula for calculating this is pretty ambiguous though.
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 15:39:00

Critics of Wenger's youth policy will call this poetic justice, particularly considering the Barca thing. I don't know how much of a role we can truly claim to have had in his development, but, given that we seem to have paid his 2 million fine, would asking for some of it back be unreasonable? I've always liked what I've seen of the kid, but he doesn't look the 'New Cesc' - hate those labels - that he was touted to be, and i'd be much more upset to lose Wilshere or Ramsey. Can't really blame a young kid for wanting to go home to the club he supported as a boy, I wish the lad well.
Ozi Gooner
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 22:35:00

It seems Wenger is resigned to him going: "I don't know, but I fear the worst," Wenger said. "I am a bit disappointed if he has [signed for Atlético]. We have made him an offer which was accepted at the start, but he could never finalise for different reasons. He is at the stage where he wants to play. He needs to play. He is still available to me and I will do what is good for the club until the end of the season."
Report Abuse
05/01/2010 23:10:00

This is a bigger blow than we think. We never know when we will lose Cesc and this boy is going to turn into a quality player given a few more years. You can already see glimpses of his abundant potential. I am p.i.s.s.e.d.
Report Abuse
06/01/2010 03:37:00

Chill out son.
Report Abuse
06/01/2010 10:26:00


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