Wenger confirms possibility of Francis Coquelin exit


Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Francis Coquelin could leave the club during the January transfer window.

The midfielder started life as a Gunner a decade ago moving to the club’s Academy from French side Stade Lavallois. He made his first team debut in the League Cup in 2008 and won the FA Youth Cup in 2009 before embarking on a season-long loan deal with Lorient.

On his return to Arsenal, Coquelin played 62 minutes of the humiliating 8-2 defeat to Manchester United. He managed to put that experience behind him and slowly began building a career at the Emirates making 40 appearances or so up to the summer of 2013.

A second season-long loan spell, this time with Freiburg in Germany, looked to be the end of his time as a Gunner, especially as he didn’t play on his return to London.

After three months of the 2013/14 season he was sent to Charlton Athletic before being recalled by Arsene Wenger during a midfield injury crisis and establishing himself as a firs team pick.

However, this season he has played just 156 minutes of Premier League football, with the manager saying he’d been a victim of the formation change, and it seems a transfer to another club is on the cards.

“It’s a possibility but nothing is decided,” he said.

Asked if the links suggesting he could move to West Ham were true, he continued, “No, we have no contact with West Ham.”

It seems more probable that the very concrete interest from Valencia, who have been negotaating with Arsenal for some weeks now, is the most likely destination for the Frenchman.

It’d be a very decent move for him, a chance to hook up with his old teammate Gabriel, play in a top league, and live in a beautiful city with great weather.

If the choice is between that or having to work with David Moyes and Andy Carroll every day, it’s a no-brainer.

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38 Comments on "Wenger confirms possibility of Francis Coquelin exit"

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Coquelin > Xhaka for me


Chalk > Cheese

Stuck on repeat...

Disagree – cheese gets my vote.



I’ve always liked Coquelin, his attitude is in the right place, he’s a hard worker, and he isn’t afraid to put a tackle in. And we can’t deny that when he came back into the side after that loan spell away at Charlton, how badly we needed a player like him. A guy that was just willing to sit in front of the back four and marshal that whole area with a bit of physicality, just doing the dirty work and giving the ball nice and simple.

He’s never been the player good enough on the ball to play the way that Arsene wants him to do. We managed to fix his weaknesses by putting Cazorla next to him – but obviously since Santi’s fitness issues has hugely prevented Coquelin from hitting those previous heights when the pair played together.

But as an out and out ball winner, I think he is genuinely very good. And if we had a manager in charge that could give him specific instructions and coach him correctly, I honestly think we could’ve had a genuinely class out and out defensive midfielder there.

Best of luck.


Granit for all his faults is still marginally indispensable only bc of the paucity of options we have.

Elneny is mediocre.

Ramsey should be playing further up. He’s OK for a short spell but then gets indiscipline and starts to drift forward.

Jack is an asset driving forward but if you really analyse him defensively, he isn’t that much better than Granit.

Where Granit provides us is the quick release with his long range passing but he needs to step up bc he keeps making simple errors and he never has his head on a swivel.

there has been improvement to his tackling but none of our midfielders are in anyways aware enough to track dangers running into the box and there has still been a bit of a disconnect with the defense. We are not a defensive unit yet.


Granit Xhaka is a very good footballer technically. He is miles ahead of Coquelin.

I know Granit has his faults, like every player does. But his main issues are down to the way the team is set up, and the way we play. He is constantly being asked to do all the things that he isn’t very good at. Which isn’t the way it should be.

If we had a decent coach, he would 100% be sorting that out. But Wenger doesn’t do that. He wants Granit to figure all of it out on his own, which just isn’t going to happen.

So we will continue to see Xhaka made to look like he cant play. Whereas if you put him in a team with someone like Pep, or Maureen, Conte, Klopp, just any of the new top level guys.

They would identify his weaknesses, and coach it out of him – or they would set the team up in a way to protect his weaknesses.

But alas, here we are.


No, we need him. #Coqblock

Mein Bergkampf

You’re probably right. And that is fucking ridiculous.


Too right. I can name the number of players who can tackle on one hand.

Stuck on repeat...

But that’s exactly where we’re going wrong…defensively at least. Too many players trying to tackle on one hand. Bouldie sort it out!


Coquelin better than Xhaka in a 4-3-3. Xhaka has made more mistakes that cost us this year alone than Coquelin has made in his entire career. I don’t understand the concept of playing a player till he hits form just because you paid big bucks for it. Coquelin and Wilshere will complement each other well in a 3 man midfield since Jack’s ball retention is similar to Santis.


So? We’ve never even played 4-3-3 so that’s not relevant. Either we play 3-4-2-1 or 4-2-3-1…


The issue with Coquelin is he needed a disciplined player to have next to.

He was best of course next to santi as likely most other players, someone who was aware enough to cover defensively in terms of position but also know when to go forward.

I said this 2015-16 season, Coquelin and Ramsey played 7 or 8 games and shipped 14 goals between them.

That season many people were going on about Flamini but Flamini managed to preside through a difficult patch when we were shorn of some of our top assets that included victory against City and in a crunch match against Olympiakos away.

It was ironically when some of the top assets like Alexis returned to fold that we dried up in front of goal and Ramsey became more ‘adventurous’, venturing too far forward (sound familiar?) and in proccess exposing the older legs of Flamini. We ended up of course exposed and on the wrong side of some lob sided results.

But the issue was Ramsey.

BC Coquelin returning was heralded as something better than Flamini and the leakage did not abate. As mentioned we ended up shipping 14 goals in subsequent 7 or 8 games.

As is to illustrate how difficult it is to play with Ramsey, Granit has actually done reasonably well and improved.

He is still flawed in many ways but not as poor as again many would deem to imagine.

The problem I have is Wenger playing Ramsey too deep bc he is trying to accommodate him and Ozil. Frankly Ramsey is best in Ozil’s position, higher up attacking the box.

The reverse I feel is with Iwobi who is having a difficult time higher up.

I think the young lad (he is still just 22yrs) is better deeper where he can put his strength and tight control on the ball to better effect.

Crucially it also allows him to see more of the play and drive forward, an asset he possesses much like Jack.

The critical issue is if he can stay discipline. I believe Iwobi is better equip to do so than Ramsey whose instinct is to attack the box.

But it may also require a rethink on current open architecture 3 against a more conservative 2 +1. Considering Granit’s faults (like Ramsey they have the turning radius of the Titanic), it may be useful to have a more structured approach in midfield.

Iwobi also turns fast with the ball to face his opponent unlike Ramsey or Granit and more akin to Jack.

Coquelin I feel is a bit caught in no man’s land. He doesn’t have the long passing ability quite as accomplished as Granit, so crucial to releasing us quicker rather than ponderous side way passing ala Elneny.

He doesn’t have the attacking drive of Jack (or possibly Iwobi)

He is defensively dogged but needs the right partner to complement. We have yet to fully try him with Jack (or Iwobi) but if he is sold, we need to consider the sort of capability Santi brought us that we have lacked for 3 seasons now.

Whether Wenger will buy or of course rely on untested youth is the biggest bug bear.

Lord Bendnter

It has always bugged me because I don’t think Wenger has utilized Le Coq well enough in past few seasons. I always felt like he tried to convert Le Coq to someone he’s not and it’s frustrating to see him not playing to his strength all the time.


That’s the annoying part about Arsene.
His imbecilic plan of converting Coq to a box-to-box midfielder similar to how Song became a deep-lying playmaker(which he clearly wasn’t) because he got to convert Henry, Lauren, and Toure.

This stubbornness along with the idea of letting a player we will need halfway through the season for the player’s International ambitions will cost dearly. This is no way keeping Arsenal’s interest first and foremost, more the player’s interest and Arsene playing dear daddy!


Baffling that a team as good as valencia think they can use him but we can’t find any game time for him despite our own midfield/defensive problems. I would love/have loved to see him in a 433 with wilshere and ramsey ahead of and either side of him.


Would love to see s 4-3-3 with one defensive CM, similar to what all the other top European teams play. We never play it even though it is the only formation apart from 4-2-3-1 that doesn’t make us play players out of position.

Paulie C

Not without precedent.

Baffling that a team as good as Juventus think they can do with Szczesny but that we didn’t see any future in him even though our current #1 is 36 years old.

Btw I love Cech & think he’s quality but Woj was Arsenal through and through and it’s a shocking indictment that we’ve let him go and come as close as we have to letting Wilshere go – that for me is why AW no longer has my support. Keep the boys that grew up with the club traditions and you’d have a team that’d be fighting *and* wearing the same length sleeves period.


Hopefully this is the start of many… Walcott, Iwobi, El Neny, Chambers next please!

Lord Bendnter

Not ElNeny, is a pretty decent player with good passing rate (don’t judge him on that forest game alone). He’s a good player to keep in ur squad. I don’t think Wenger will sell him, and I wouldn’t him to be sold either.


hes also an egypt international whom have qualified for the upcoming WC.
his stock will be up in a year at worst.
at best that experience turns him into a better player. win/win?

Mike Dean

Another player who has just stopped improving. Like so many others who played to a certain level but never took their game further. File Coq next to Theo, Ox, Ramsey and (soon to be) Bellerin. Careers ended at Arsenal by a lack of coaching and development. By the way, I admit the Chambers handball was a call I got wrong. Apologies for that.


You are a c*nt, you know that!


If we have aspirations to be a massive club again and genuinely competing at the top of the league and CL , then players like this shouldn’t be anywhere near the squad. Best of luck to him but he’s too limited for us. The same can be said for a few more in and around the first team so this is a good start.


We do not have those aspirations, let’s be honest.
As a matter of fact, we could be strengthening our rivals, WEST HAM!


I don’t mind this too much, if we start to see Maitland-Niles given some time as a defensive centre-mid.

More likely though is we’ll keep fielding a central midfield trio with no defensive balance because somehow we think we can win the league by aiming to win every match 4-3.

Damo Dinkum

Given how poorly Coquelin’s defensive skills have been utilised, I wouldn’t put money on it being any different with AMN. I still shake my head in disbelief at how poorly we’ve utilised the Coq.

Stuck on repeat...

“However, this season he has played just 156 minutes of Premier League football, with the manager saying he’d been a victim of the formation change, and it seems a transfer to another club is on the cards” – Seeing as we’re awful this season, & this “formation change” has seen us play like utter shite…can we not simply revert back & keep him? Unless of course we’re giving it our all in the fabled Transfer Window Profit Trophy (it’s coming home boys I tell ya…it’s coming home!)

Sure, Le Coq may not be our best player (they’re mostly all leaving anyway), but there’s plenty of other driftwood that should be offloaded before him. Seems baffling…but what doesn’t this season with the club.

Whatever happens, I wish the player well, & short term at least probably represents the best move he can make.

Another Sam

Coquelin is saleable at a reasonable price and will take the wages on offer in la Liga because he wants to play. He’s got a pro outlook. I like him and wish him well if he goes to sunny Valencia. They’re a good side and on the up. A lot of our ‘driftwood’ is unsaleable, on long contracts, high wages and complacent.

Old Boy Gunner

And not before time. Tries hard but simply dorsn’t hsve the talent & ability. Hoping he’s one of many heading for the exit door, particularly Walcott.


So was Ray Parlour. At least Coq puts in a shift everytime he’s played, unlike Xhaka who looks like a liability and despite being out-of-form, Arsene has put him to the shreds and he’s the Inanimate Lightning Rod now that Ramsey is on the injury table.

But Walcott, he should be ahead of anyone else in the queue out of the exit door.


about time we started getting rid of the deadwood


Didn’t he sign a new long term contract a few months back?

Seems the new backroom arrivals are starting to disband Wenger’s underperforming overpaid “Children”.
This is gonna get nasty come summer…


I think with a healthy Wilshere giving us three CMs for two positions along with backup in Elneny, Willock and even ANM then we certainly should sell Coquelin now and get what we can for him if in fact someone is willing to pay 10 million.


Only Elneny and AMN of those can defend and they won’t start a match without an injury to the other players. We played a lot better football with Coq in the team 2015-2016 than we do now.


That wasn’t just down to Coq though, we had an inform and healthy Cazorla, which made a huge difference.


BIG mistake.

He hasn’t hit the heights but as far as versatility and back up, he should be the minimum standard. Elneny is poor by comparison and should be the one sold.

Maybe Wenger is contemplating AMN coming into the middle but that in itself also carries risk. The middle of the park role needs experience and AMN as good as he is promising to be will need some time to learn the trade there (even if he’s played there at youth level).

Plus if AMN shifts into that role, we are with less options at full back in terms of back up.

Presumably (assuming) we bring in someone other than Evans into the Cback role which means Monreal can shift back left to cover/alternate with Kolasinac.

But Right side fullback needs cover. Debuchy we should sell. His head isn’t in it.

AMN seems a natural choice for now having already garnered good experience on the left and where right will be his more natural side.

Not sure what the thinking is here.

We’ve made some poor decisions in recent seasons.

Letting Szsc go instead of pushing him to number one but with Cech competing.

Letting a fast improving and experienced Gabriel go and instead banking on one of Holding or Chambers to come good before they show delivery on promise.

Letting Gnabry leave instead of promoting him into first team and forcing the Ox to sign…which in the end left us with neither player.

The whole thinking on the squad composition has been poor.

We are so unbalanced at the moment with nothing from right side beyond Bellerin in terms of offensive power which has its own defensive implications.

Unless Wenger is going to spend on a central midfielder (say Kongdogbia who is on loan at Valencia from Inter) I can’t see this as an upgrade and I don’t believe we will spend in midfield (Santi has not been replicated for 3 seasons + now)


Have to say I would have at least had him for the FA cup rather than Willock (or Elneny)