Spanish midfielder Fran Merida admits he made a mistake leaving Arsenal for Atletico Madrid in 2010.
Having moved to north London from Barcelona as a 15-year-old, Merida left the Gunners five years later after making just 16 appearances in all competitions for the first-team.
Arsenal paid Barca €3.2million for his services and the former Spain youth international was dubbed one of the next big things.
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He was sent out on loan to Real Sociedad in 2008, having been described by Arsene Wenger as "an absolutely amazing player". Upon his return to England, he forced a move to the Spanish capital.
However, the 25-year-old, who now plies his trade in the Liga Adelante with Huesca, admits it was not the best decision.
“It was a mistake, I wasn’t patient,” he explains in an 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. Nasri, Fabregas, Rosicky and Denilson were also in my position. It was difficult for me.”
Merida failed to establish himself at Atletico and his career path shows how the step-up from academy football can be tough.
This comes fresh off the back of young Arsenal midfielder Dan Crowley having his loan deal at Barnsley cut short.
The League One outfit were unconvinced by his ability to play at the level, a damning assessment of the young central midfielder.
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