Merida going nowhere, says Wenger
FRAN MERIDA will stay at Arsenal, says Arsène Wenger
Wenger has expressed his belief that Merida can still be persuaded to remain at Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Merida scored for Arsenal in their 2-0 win over Bolton last weekend and is likely to play a major part over the next month following new injuries in midfield to Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal have offered Merida a new contract, but he has stalled on signing it amid interest from Atletico Madrid. Merida turns 20 this year and is now desperate for regular first-team football.
“I believe, yes [he will stay] – I have not given up on him,” said Wenger. “Merida was very influential against Bolton, he has good technique, he kept the ball very well and is dangerous.”
Arsenal overtook Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table (albeit on goal difference and despite the fact that Chelsea have a game in hand) after they beat Bolton 4-2 on Wednesday; a remarkable turnaround following their 11point deficit at the end of November. “We have shown that we have matured,” said Wenger. “Without a doubt [we are more resilient], but there is more to come, we are still a young team.”
Of the injuries to Nasri and Ramsey, he added: “Nasri was injured in the final minute of training [last] Saturday and Ramsey the day before. We lose two important players for at least three weeks. With the number of games, it is important not to lose more players. We have a very tough run coming up but we must focus on the next game and keep it simple.” – The Telegraph
BIGGER ROLE: Merida is desperate for more first team action and could get it after several Arsenal regulars picked up injuries.