Arsene Wenger: I Had To Keep Fran Merida At Arsenal

The midfield playmaker was prevented from playing first team football in Spain because Wenger feels he has the quality to succeed with the Gunners...
Arsene Wenger has revealed that he stopped Fran Merida going back to Spain on loan from Arsenal because he felt it was too "generous" after all the work that had gone into the player.

The Catalan midfielder, who moved to England from Barcelona in 2005, has had few opportunities to impress with the Gunners this term and was keen on joining a club where he could play regularly, with Levante making their interest known.

With Merida's contract set to run out at the end of the current season, and with Sevilla and Atletico Madrid interested, Wenger opted to keep the 19-year-old close by.

"Fran had a good pre-season and after the pre-season he was away a lot with Spain. Now he is back, so I hope he can show how good he is,' the manager told Arsenal TV Online.  

"I nearly gave him out on loan, but on the day I had to make the decision, I decided to keep him. It would have been good for him, but I felt that he has too much quality to go out.  

"He just has football in his blood and these players always have a good chance to come through.

"We educate the players and then they play for somebody else and that I find a little bit too generous, especially when you have worked with them for years.  

"I believe it is better to give them the maximum chance with your club."

Lucas Brown, Goal.com