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Merida off to Atletico

MADRID, January 6 – Arsenal's Spanish midfielder Fran Merida is set to sign a five-year deal with Atletico de Madrid, Spanish sports newspapers said Tuesday.
The 19-year-old’s contract with the Gunners expires this summer and he is ready to move back to his homeland, the AS newspaper said.

Another sports daily, Marca, said Merida is "one step away from signing for Madrid."

The Spain under-21 international was signed from Barcelona in 2007 but has failed to secure a regular first-team spot at the London club.

Atletico has been active in the mid-season transfer window after a poor start to the season that has left it in 11th place in the Primera Liga, 17 points behind leaders Barcelona.

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