Shortly after Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea, Arsène Wenger confirmed that Francis Coquelin has been sold to Valencia.
Wenger confirms Coquelin has signed for Valencia— arseblog (@arseblog) January 10, 2018
There are discrepancies with the fees, with some reporting €25m (£22m) but most outlets settling on a fee of around £10m. Coquelin, who signed a new 4-year contract last January, has been out of favour, having only started one Premier League game, and that was at centre back. Despite Granit Xhaka struggling at times, Coquelin was firmly out of favour, indicating that Wenger had finally come to the conclusion that his limitations overcame his tackling ability and energy.
Coquelin, of course, was not expected to start when he came back on loan from Charlton, but ended up being first choice for the best part of two seasons. With his best form coming alongside Santi Cazorla, and struggling alongside Arsenal’s other central midfielders, Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, and Mohamed Elneny, the decision to award Coquelin with a new contract last year, when he still had two years to run, was odd, and with the bump in wages, likely caused the depreciation in the fee.
Arsenal may be in the market for a central midfielder, but likely not away; Wenger indicated as much, given Arsenal’s soon to be returnees in midfield, like Aaron Ramsey. Furthermore, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a central midfielder by trade, and may be the biggest beneficiary from the transfer, after the rest of us, who suffered 159 games of Mad Franky Coquelin.