Merida go­ing nowhere, says Wenger

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

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.

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