Former Arsenal wonderkid Fran Merida says Arsene Wenger pleaded with him to stay, admits mistake leaving

The 25-year-old is now playing for Huesca in his native Spain.

Fran Merida was once considered one of the future stars of the Arsenal youth team, a man to follow in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas as a technical Spanish superstar in the heart of the Gunners midfield.

But after he decided to try put a rush on his career with a move to Atletico Madrid his career began to go downhill. He struggled just as much, if not more, for first-team football in his homeland than he did in North London.

He ended up at Hercules, but left there after he lost his place in the team after being sent off for a wild challenge. He moved to Brazil, but again struggled but is now settled at Huesca in the Spanish second tier.

He has been speaking to Yahoo Sports this week about his time at Arsenal and his regrets about leaving the club:

“The highlight of my football life (was my Arsenal debut).

“I only played for six minutes and only touched the ball once, but I ran around and around because I was so excited. I’ll never forget that moment walking onto the pitch at the Emirates.

“Levante wanted me for one season and I was going to sign for them. I actually packed my clothes and went with Arsenal to play against Valencia. I was going to stay in the city and join Levante when Wenger called me and said: ‘Please stay, you will get more chances and if you do well you can break into the first-team.' He changed my mind, I went back to London.

"They (Atletico Madrid) offered me a four-year contract and I still felt that I wasn’t going to play every week at Arsenal. I said goodbye.

"It was a mistake, I wasn’t patient. I realise that now, but I’ve never been a patient person.”

Who knows what might have happened had Merida remained at Arsenal under the guidance of Wenger, he very well might have followed in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas.

As it is he is now with Huesca but is still young. The 25-year-old might still make it to the top.

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