Arsene Wenger is confident that Francis Coquelin will sign a new deal at Arsenal having begun negotiations with the Frenchman.
The 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and had been expected to leave the Emirates having spent two of the last four seasons out on loan at Lorient and Freiburg respectively.
However, in light of his impressive form since returning from a short spell at Charlton – ended prematurely due to the Gunners’ injury crisis in December – the defensive midfielder will be given the chance to stay and fight for a regular first team place.
Speaking about Coquelin’s recent renaissance, Wenger told his pre-Brighton press conference: “I saw that he made huge improvements in training and I explained to him that for me to give him a potential chance, he needed match practice.
“I could not give him that, I could give him that only if he played somewhere else before. He took the challenge [at Charlton], he came back and since I have played him, he is doing well.
Asked if this ‘internal solution’ could prove to be the long-term answer to Arsenal’s well-documented ‘need’ for a defensive midfielder, Wenger continued:
“Yes, of course. He is a very young player. You look just at what happens on the pitch. Win the ball and make a good pass, in his position that is important.
“We have offered him a new deal. I am confident that it will be done.”
Fair play to the lad. That is an impressively swift turnaround in his fortunes. Let’s hope the deal gets done quickly.