Arsenal are open to allowing Francis Coquelin leave the club after a lack of game time in recent seasons and falling down the midfield pecking order
According to The Mirror, Valencia have entered the race to sign Francis Coquelin from Arsenal in the current January transfer window. Coquelin was absent from the squad in the defeat to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup 3rd round tie on Sunday.
Valencia are said to be interested in signing the tenacious French midfielder and are said to be preparing an offer of £12 million to take him away from Arsenal. Valencia are on the lookout for a midfielder with a defensive mindset and Coquelin seems to fit the bill, given his experience and age. In the race to sign Coquelin, Valencia are not alone. West Ham are reportedly in the market for a midfielder with Stoke’s Joe Allen and Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey said to be their other options.
The Hammers, under David Moyes, look decent after an early scare of dropping into the relegation zone. Signing Coquelin would strengthen their midfield options in the second half of the season. Coquelin also fits Moyes’ requirement for a defensive midfielder with ample Premier League experience.
Another English club which The Mirror report to be interested in Coquelin are Crystal Palace. Palace have found it difficult in the league this season, but have been in good form since Roy Hodgson took over from Frank de Boer. Signing Coquelin would strengthen their squad and Hodgson views the defensive midfielder as a valuable addition to his squad.
Speculation was ripe when Arsene Wenger kept Coquelin out the squad to face Nottingham Forest, meaning if he joins another English side, he won’t be cup-tied. The exclusion was not due to injury as Wenger had reported him to be fit.
Francis Coquelin joined Arsenal as a 17-year-old and slowly broke into the first team squad, at that time mainly due to mounting injuries. While on loan to Charlton in 2014, Coquelin was recalled to Arsenal by Arsene Wenger and went on to finish the season as a starter alongside Santi Cazorla in a new found midfield partnership.
Coquelin was since touted as a polished gem found lying somewhere in the corner of the storeroom, as he continued to majestically impress in the Arsenal midfield into the next season. An injury to Cazorla and Coquelin forced Wenger to rekindle his midfield options and Coquelin, has since featured frequently, if not regularly.
Since his comeback, Coquelin became a key member at Arsenal and drew praise from his manager for his surprise rise in form. His new found form and ability to control midfield ensured Arsenal offered him a long-term contract extension. Since then, however, regular injuries and a dip in form have affected his game and playing time.
A lack of game time and falling down the Arsenal midfield pecking order means Coquelin is considering his options. He does not have much experience playing in Spain but Valencia resembles a good switch. If he decides to stay in England, there will be no shortage of suitors as well.