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By ESPN Staff

Starlet Merida signs long-term deal

Fran Merida has signed a long-term contract with Arsenal.

The 18-year-old midfielder arrived from Barcelona in 2006 and is currently back in his native Spain on loan at Real Sociedad. Speaking to TV Online on Thursday afternoon, Arsène Wenger expressed his delight at the new deal describing Merida as an 'absolutely amazing' talent.

'Yes we have extended his contract,' confirmed the manager. 'That was planned and it is good news because he is a very fine player. He is one for the future.

'The reports I have from [his loan spell in] Spain are that he does well everytime he plays. Fran is very technical. He still needs to grow physically but football-wise there is no problem. He is an absolutely amazing player.'