Francis Coquelin yesterday signed for Valencia for £12m, having spent almost a decade at Arsenal.
His time at the club had plenty of ups and downs, but in recent seasons he’d established himself as a first team player, and made the most of the opportunity given to him when he was recalled from a loan spell at Charlton because of an injury crisis.
However, this season he’s been very much on the fringes, and when the chance to play more regular football presented itself, he wanted to take it.
“I spent some great years at Arsenal,” he said. “They’re the club that launched my career, I’ll never forget that. It’s difficult to leave.
“I was playing games, yes, but not necessarily those that counted. I needed to grow still more.
“I’m in an important period in my career. I wasn’t playing much at Arsenal, and I wanted to see something different, to experience another story.
“I have chosen a club with a great past, a family club. And I immediately felt good here.”
The midfielder looked back on his time with Gunners with pride, saying, “I played a lot of games.
“We won a cup, we finished in the top three several times. I can’t be disappointed with that.”
And he also revealed he spoke to Arsene Wenger about his move and discussions with the boss were respectful.
“We had a very healthy discussion together,” he said. “He’s someone I have a huge amount of respect for.
“I told him what I thought, him too, and he understood. The only thing is that I didn’t want to leave on loan, but really to start a new cycle.
“This is perfect.”