Arsenal youngster Fran Merida insists that he has no regrets about taking the same path as Cesc Fabregas in leaving Barcelona for the Premier League club.
Merida decided to leave the Nou Camp at the age of 16 to develop his football education under Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. 18-year-old Merida is tipped to have a great future at the Emirates Stadium and is part of the young Gunners Carling Cup side that have reached the quarter-finals this season after wins against Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic.
“I’m delighted to be here,” Merida told Marca.
“I arrived at the age of 16 and settled pretty well. My loan to Real Sociedad was a good experience and I feel like I’m improving day by day.”
Despite only having made one Premier League appearance for the North London club, Merida believes that the young Carling Cup side, which includes Jack Wilshere, Carlos Vela, Aaron Ramsey and himself would be good enough to compete in the Premiership.
Merida said: “I think we would. We are making Wenger doubt.
“We have been playing well in the Carling Cup, won the last game with Wigan playing good football. What we want to do is reach the top.
However, despite the comparisons with Spanish International Fabregas, Merida insists he will take it a step at a time in the hope of making it at the Emirates Stadium.
“Honestly, my plans are only short-term ones, like going to training tomorrow. What I want to do is have fun, improve and learn. And one day I want to succeed at Arsenal,” Merida added.
Merida is backing the Gunners to bounce back from the defeat to Aston Villa and has praised Wenger for the Frenchman’s management style, with the midfielder insisting the Premiership is not an easy league.
He said: “Every team experiences gaps during the season. No doubt the team will bounce back, as the players and the team are good enough to fight. The Premier League is not easy.
“Everybody has their opinion and can think whatever they want. Wenger has been at the club for ages and did great things. He brought one-touch football to The Premier League.
“The fans love him and I’m happy with him as well. He imposed his personality when he decided to play young players. Arsenal are the only team that play with them in the Carling Cup.
“I don’t regret having left at 16 even if leaving everything is very difficult. You have to take risks in your life. Anyway I am having a lot of fun.”