French midfielder Francis Coquelin has left Arsenal to join La Liga outfit Valencia for £12million. The midfielder has signed a four-and-half-year deal with the Spanish side, with a £71.2million release clause in his contract.
According to Sky Sports, Coquelin decided to move to the Spanish club after rejecting moves to the likes of West Ham and Crystal Palace.
Out-of-favour in north London
The 26-year-old had recently fallen out-of-favour at the north London club, despite signing a new deal just a year ago. Coquelin has started just seven games in all competitions, one of which was in the Premier League.
The midfielder also made six substitute appearances in the English top-flight. The likes of Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Mohamed Elneny and Jack Wilshere were all ahead of the French star in the pecking order in midfield.
Coquelin struggled to establish himself in the centre of the Arsenal midfield in his early career in north London. However, at one point in early December 2015, he was the first choice defensive midfielder alongside Santi Cazorla in the centre of the Gunners midfield.
Coquelin’s lack of appearances in the Premier League illustrated the midfielder’s place in the Gunners pecking order this season.
Just not good enough
The 26-year-old never really convinced as the Gunners first choice defensive midfielder. I believe that most Arsenal fans just saw the Frenchman as a stopgap until a better class of player arrived to fill the void.
Swiss international Granit Xhaka was supposedly that man. However, Xhaka has also flattered to deceive but is regarded as a far better long-term prospect.
Coquelin was just another mediocre player in the Gunners squad. The fact that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was prepared to allow him to leave without having a replacement shows his lack of importance to the team.
Arsenal need better players to get back to the top
The standard of player at Arsenal has slipped in recent years. Players of the standard of Coquelin are the reason why Arsenal are struggling to challenge for a top-four position and odds of 11/4 to clinch a Champions League spot.
With the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez set to leave the club in the near future, there seems to be no sign of the quality of players at the club improving in the future. Arsenal look set to struggle to compete with the top-four teams if they keep persisting with mediocre players.
Will Arsenal miss Francis Coquelin?