Fran Mérida, our first big signing of the the summer, appears to be living up to the hype. The talented young playmaker is reportedly set to start the 2010-11 season on the left wing, getting the nod ahead of Portuguese veteran Simão Sabrosa.
The young midfielder, who signed for Atlético on a free transfer from Arsenal in late May, has performed above expectations and impressed Quique Sánchez Flores, who earlier this pre-season lavished praise on the 20-year old.
Simão is rumoured to have fallen to third choice for the left flank position, behind Fran and José Manuel Jurado. The Portuguese international was widely expected to be sold this summer. A shortage of suitors, coupled with the 30-year old’s contract expiring next summer, has rendered his immediate departure very unlikely.
Atlético was hoping to cash in on Simão and avoid the hard lesson learned from the Maximiliano Rodríguez debacle just a season ago. Maxi left Atlético for Liverpool this January on a freebie after Atleti officials failed to pull the trigger on a deal for the winger last summer.
Under the Bosman ruling, the winger will be able to start talking to interested clubs in January ahead of a move next summer. Given that his playing time in Madrid this year is likely to be limited, these next few months are probably going to be Simão’s last as a rojiblanco.