No time like the present. Merida should sign now, he has Arsene right where he wants him

Like the players, we fans must focus on the next game the North London Derby. This is a big’un (thats what she said).  But with our team being injury ravaged, this game illustrates an interesting opportunity for none other than Señor Merida. I know, I know, I know, it looks like Merida is out the door this summer. But like a kid who wants a puppy, I just can’t give up on him yet. And watching him warm up for a possible substitution during the barca match brought it all back. With Arsene seeming stuck on the beautiful game and a 4-3-3, Merida’s opportunity is here.

The Merida saga began earlier this year when he failed to sign a two-year extension. Rumors were pretty clear: he’d signed a pre-contract with Atletico Madrid. On paper, Atletico looks good. Merida would start, play in La Liga, be home in Spain, on a team he was a childhood fan of. The problem of course is that Atletico is a perennial not-quite that plays a distant second fiddle to real madrid in madrid, and challenges for only third…fourth…fifth…place in La Liga.

Not surprisingly, by January, Arsene’s interest in playing Merida seemed to cool. But Merida’s hesitation to sign an extension made sense. He began the season neck and neck with Ramsey, but by November it was obvious Ramsey was being selected ahead of him. He just wasn’t getting the playing time he wanted at Arsenal. Still, after this last season under his belt, Merida should stay at Arsenal because circumstances give him a unique opportunity.

Arsenal is really hurting. With our midfield and back line effectively destroyed, new opportunities exist, now and in the future. For starters, Fab, Arshavin and Ramsey are out. Rosicky and Walcott are proving their future roles as substitutes, not starters. And, we need Eboue to cover just about every other position. As for Denilson, I’m a supporter, but he just hasn’t improved fast enough.

Going forward, we’ve lost Ramsey until well into next season so the biggest roadblock for Merida is gone. Strategically, Merida also plays well into our system, he cements a real 4-3-3 rotation, so near and dear to Monsignor’s heart. He can play all over the field, he’s that good. He also has the Torres type of fire we need. Whether playing a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 Merida can play the part.

Perhaps most important though, the economics are in Merida’s favor. Monsignor would love Merida to justify NOT having to purchase another midfielder if we can develop one in-house. If we can keep Merida and pick up Chamakh on a free transfer, then we have cash to spend on our defense: back line and goal keeper.

Will all of this come true? Probably not. Merida is likely to leave. Indeed, the confirmed rumors about Ander Herrera bode ill. But Merida should take heart, Fab’s opportunity also came from a clutch of injuries (Viera, Edu and Silva); and, circumstances have given Merida a similar chance to grab his opportunity today.

-the student

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