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Ex-Arsenal wonderkid Fran Merida can rebuild career with reported Leeds United move

Thomas Christiansen manager of Leeds United looks on before the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Burnley and Leeds United at Turf Moor on September 19, 2017 in Burnley, England.

Fran Merida admitted he made a mistake swapping Arsenal for Atletico - but Leeds United may offer him a second chance in England.

Fran Merida of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Arsenal at the Reebok Stadium on January 17, 2010 in...

A real blast from the past this Monday. According to The Mail, Leeds United have sent scouts to watch none other than Fran Merida in action for Spanish second tier league leaders Osasuna in recent weeks.

Merida might have only played just six times in his Premier League career but it's what he did not achieve, rather than what he did, that will have fans all across the country intrigued by one of the most eye-catching transfer stories for some time.

The former Spain Under-21 international was seen as a bonafide wonderkid when Arsenal nabbed him from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy at the age of just 15 to the fury of the Catalan giants. However, the player tipped to be Cesc Fabregas’ long-term successor at The Emirates is now considered closer to the likes of Denilson than the 2010 World Cup winner.

Fran Merida of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's second goal with team mate Cesc Fabregas (R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Arsenal at the...

And Merida’s failure to fulfil that vast potential can be traced back to one watershed moment – his decision to leave Arsenal for boyhood club Atletico Madrid back in 2010.

'It was a mistake'

“It was a mistake, I wasn’t patient,” the 27-year-old, who featured just 20 times in La Liga in two years, explained in a 2015 interview with Yahoo Sport . “I realise that now, but I’ve never been a patient person.”

“I had some opportunities but the competition was high. Arsenal bought Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere into the first-team. Samir Nasri, Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky and Denilson were also in my position. It was difficult for me.”

"[Atletico] offered me a four-year contract and I still felt that I wasn’t going to play every week at Arsenal. I said goodbye.”

Fran Merida of Atletico Madrid shoots past Ricardo Carvalho (R) and  Alvaro Arbeloa (L) of Real Madrid during the Copa del Rey quarter final second leg match between Atletico Madrid and...

However, after rebuilding his career somewhat with Osasuna, Merida may have the chance to put things right and return to England in January.

Merida may never be the new Fabregas but, at Leeds, he would have the opportunity to prove his worth in front of huge crowds in one of Europe’s most competitive leagues.

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