Mérida has the edge over Simão

The gifted Catalan youngster is set to be the starter on the left wing


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.

  • It’s a shame that someone that someone who’s been so important in the team ends this way, but the truth is that he has lost a lot of his speed and, I think, his “hunger” too.

    It’s also a pity that the club won’t see an € from his departure, but that’s secondary.

  • Ringo Schut

    Yeah, plus it’s obvious that we need the best players on the pitch (or the best team). Simão isn’t one of the best here.
    Last season Simão destroyed a lot of our attacks. There were only a few games in which he actually played well.
    If we won’t get any money at all, we might as well let him go right now, even though he could help some youngsters with his experience, if he wants to help them.

  • Simao declined a lot, he lost his speed, his flair and dribble – he is surely our weakest link up front, and with Juardo and Merida doing great it would be plain dumb to play Simao. Its a pitty we wont get a dime for him, but to be truth hes not worth much more at the moment.

  • Derek Maaijen

    I think you guys are being harsh on Simão. He might not be as decisive anymore, but he’s still an excellent player and can offer something completely different from Jurado and Mérida. He is a popular guy in the dressing room and always has a good understanding with the players surrounding him.

    If we could receive some millions for him I would probably sell, but it won’t hurt at all to keep Simão with the club. I’m not ruling out he’ll win back his place in the starting XI either

  • Mohammed

    I think he can be utilised better as an attacking midfielder behind the strikers. He will not need much speed at that position and would do great with his smart passes feeding Aguero and Forlan.

  • NiñoTorres

    I always liked Simão and I think we should give him a new contract to stop him going on a free, but it’s obvious last season he wasn’t at his best. He had some good games especially around new year but overall disappointed, especially after his excellent end to the 08/09 season. He recorded an impressive top speed during the World Cup so I think he is still quick enough, and at 30 could still turn it around, but Fran has really impressed in pre-season and should play a lot of games this year. It’s a nice problem to have with 3 good players to choose from on the left side 🙂

  • Nick Poskitt

    I think the main problem with Simão is his wages. I mean, he was signed in the Great Splurge of 07 and I think he’s probably on a fair whack, which is why we must be looking to get rid and lower the salary costs.

  • Arjit

    He was one of my favorites a couple seasons ago, he was one to watch. Now he’s on the decline but still, i would think we could make atleast 5 mill off him if we were to sell him. When we got reyes and jurado back from loan last season i had a feeling simao would become less important. On the other hand, merida is great, i had a feeling this would happen. Merida is by no means a fast player but his technical skills and creativity are amazing. he would probably cut in a lot which would give filipe luis the whole left flank to exploit.