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Next Year’s Stars: 6 – Fran Merida

Fran Merida signed a long-term contract with Arsenal in April – although judging by the way the media ignored it, nothing happened.

He’s 18, he was transferred from Barcelona in 2006, and this past season played on loan for Real Sociedad. Wenger described him as an “absolutely amazing” talent. Wenger’s view is that Merida is not strong enough physically for the EPL but he has all the footballing ability.

This week he scored the winning goal in Real Sociedad’s 2-1 win over Hercules Alicante.

He is a creative central or left-sided midfielder, who scored on his AFC debut in August 2006 in a friendly.   He has been in the Little Cup squad but didn’t get a game. He was also part of the Spain squad which won the Uefa Under-17 Championship, creating the only goal in the Final against England.

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