Arsene Wenger looks set to lose promising attacker.
Fran Merida is reported to have snubbed a new deal at Arsenal and signed for Atletico Madrid.
Sources in the Spanish capital claim that Merida has agreed terms with Atletico, to join them in the summer.
Merida is out-of-contract at Emirates Stadium, and although agreeing terms on a new deal earlier this year – he failed to sign his contract.
Now the 19-year-old appears to be intent on returning to his homeland, after failing to make the impact expected at Arsenal.
Like with fellow countryman Cesc Fabregas,Merida joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old after quitting Barcelona youth system.
But Merida has failed to make a similar breakthrough to that of Fabregas, and has been limited to just a handful of first-team appearances.
Indeed he has seen most of his senior action during a loan spell at Real Sociedad in 2008.
Now Merida has seemingly decided to leave Arsenal and has opted to join Atletico – who are the club he has supported all his life.
Merida, who shunned an approached from Sevilla, has agreed a five-year deal at the Vicente Calderon. (Sky Sports)
This isn’t a great surprise but nonetheless if it is true Arsene Wenger will be displeased that he has been unable to keep Fran Merida at the club. The young Gunner has shown glimpses of brilliance for club and for his country (at Spanish Under 21 level) and the attacking midfielder and support striker has probably thought long and hard about his next move and perhaps a move back to Spain is in his best interests.
The 19 year old is yet to start a Premier League match and is suffering mainly due to the fact that Arsenal have so many good options coming through and as such his career has stuttered and even though the Emirates side have tried hard to convince him otherwise, Fran Merida seems set to leave for Atletico Madrid.
The La Liga side are struggling this season and he may feel that he could break into the first team picture at the club and have more of a chance of getting a place in the senior Spanish set-up as a result.