VIDEO: Fran Merida scores on Brazilian debut, making another ex-Arsenal player's boss resign

Fran Merida Trains With Arsenal

What happened when former Arsenal starlet Fran Merida took on the club where Andre Santos now plays?

Most Arsenal fans should remember the name Fran Merida, a starlet signed from Barcelona who was tipped to replicate Cesc Fabregas' midfield success.

The early signs were good, an excellent goal in the League Cup against Liverpool, and a sprinkling of magic on his few Premier League appearances.

And then he got impatient, letting his contract expire and signing with Atletico Madrid. Promises of first team football never came, and up until the beginning of this year he was playing in the Spanish second division with Hercules.

Then in late January the former wonderkid got sent off for a wild challenge, and it was decided by all his time at the club was up. Merida took the unusual step to switch continents and sign with Atletico Paranaense in Brazil.

It's been a frustrating spell for him, Merida has had to prove himself in the reserves and in 'trial' matches, and only nine months after signing has he finally made his league debut. 

He had played just two games off the bench in the Brazilian Cup, earning himself a first start in league competition.

And wouldn't you know it his first match was against one of the three other former Arsenal players currently playing in Brazil, Andre Santos. The other two being Denilson and Julio Baptista.

Santos however, a left-back sold this summer, found himself dropped to the bench for this one by Flamengo, who have been on a poor run of form finding themselves 14th in the table compared to Atletico's fourth.

Flamengo found themselves 2-0 up after 19 minutes, before Merida popped up and sparked a comeback.

Arriving late into the box, Merida found a couple of yards of space and angled his teammate's cross into the bottom corner of the net, seizing his opportunity.

He looks a bit different nowadays, sporting a beard which makes him appear far older than just 23-years-old.

You can check out his goal below:

Paranaense went onto win the game 4-2, with the excellent Merida making three key passes in the 80 minutes he spent on the field.

The win was not such good news for their opponents Flamengo, whose coach Mano Menezes quit in wake of the defeat.

"I felt that after four months, I wasn't able to transmit to the team the way I think about football.

"When a coach feels that his team is stagnating and things are repeating themselves and he has to keep saying the same things over and over again, then he is the one who has to go."

What this means for the career of Andre Santos, who has found himself often played in midfield by Menezes, is still to become clear.

For Merida on the other hand, finally things at long last are looking up.

Can Merida salvage his career? What do you remember of him?

image: © wonker

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