Thierry Henry has praised the performances of Francis Coquelin, and suggested his unexpected form might have saved Arsenal some money in the January transfer window.
Since returning from Charlton where he’d been sent on loan, the 23 year old has become a mainstay in the Gunners midfield, his hard-tackling, high-energy performances adding something of a shield to a porous defence.
As Sky tried desperately today to make something interesting out of a deadline day on which the biggest move was Robert Huth to Leicester, they interviewed the Arsenal legend who was quick to praise Coquelin’s resurgence.
“For me the best thing they’ve done is bring Coquelin back from Charlton,” he said.
“Maybe if he hadn’t come back and played the way he did recently, Arsene would have gone and bought a defensive midfielder.
“He has been amazing, Arsenal don’t look like they will concede, they can score and he gave everyone protection everybody was talking about.
“Sometimes you look for that player and they are right in front of you. But the guy has matured, he went on loan, and knows he had to perform and he is doing it.”
Nevertheless, Henry didn’t rule out Wenger making a purchase in the off-season.
“What Coquelin does is allow you to go for the player you want in the summer, because in January you go for the player that is available.
“Coquelin allowed Arsene to go for someone he really wants, or if Coquelin does the job really well, he can stay.”
There’s also the fact that Coquelin hasn’t yet signed a new deal. Although the Arsenal manager says it’s 99.9% done, that 0.1% is still troublesome.
Let’s hope he deins to sign the new contract.