Francis Coquelin says the opportunity to test himself in a new environment proved to be a fundamental factor in his decision to draw time on his Arsenal career after a decade.
After falling out of favour at the Emirates the Frenchman swapped the Gunners for Valencia in a deal worth £12 million in January. Like Olivier Giroud, who departed in the same month, he maintains that he parted ways on good terms with manager Arsene Wenger.
“He’s someone I have a lot of respect for,” Coquelin said of Wenger in an interview with Clicanoo. “If I’m here in my career, it’s because of him. We left on good terms.”
On his reasons to leave, he went on: “It isn’t that easy when you’ve spent 10 years somewhere, but I needed a new challenge.
“You tend to get into a comfort zone when you stay several years in the same clubs.
“You try and challenge yourself, but it’s a bit harder. Here, I’m starting from scratch. It’s a new experience, a new training method, new teammates and a new environment.
“All that means I was thrilled by the project. There are interesting goals to accomplish. I’m focused on that.”
Would you believe it, having never scored for the Gunners, Coquelin only went and netted for Valencia against Malaga at the weekend? Interesting goals indeed!