Put this one in the bin of “From Out Of Nowhere”: according to the Spanish publication AS, confirmed by Arseblog, Spanish midtable fodder Valencia FC are tracking Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin for a potential transfer. They are, apparently, interested in improving their midfield defensive options.
It’s safe to say Coquelin has been a divisive character at Arsenal. Turned to in a pinch, his performances have been equally over-criticized and over-lauded. For all that, he remains a very specific player - one who tackles and tries to get the ball to distributors on the team. When it works, he doesn’t hurt a team’s play more than anything so it’s not a stretch that his services could be appealing for teams fighting for every point.
That said, it feels unlikely. Coquelin just signed a contract extension at Arsenal to remain at the club until 2021 and has been, overall, a good soldier, one who Arsene Wenger has had a lot of praise for. Perhaps with Wenger’s own future in doubt, favourites like Coquelin could shake loose, but one suspects more stability will be wanted during the transition. Like it or not, Coquelin is one of those consistent players who would provide that, regardless of his limited play style. It took a very poor run of form this winter to firmly displace him as a starter that it would be shocking to see him not get another chance due to injury.
Simply, Arsenal knows what it has in Coquelin and have signed him to money teams like Valencia likely aren’t comfortable with. Whether he plays much going forward for Wenger or the next manager is in question; his place in the team is likely not.