Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
Wenger told the press after Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final stalemate at Chelsea that Coquelin was on his way to the Mestalla: “He goes to Valencia. He didn’t get enough games with us this season. He had an opportunity. I let him go.”
Those comments came after Valencia tweeted earlier on Wednesday a picture of a suitcase with Coquelin’s initials:
Simon Jones of MailOnline recently reported Valencia had agreed a £10.5 million deal to sign the midfielder, having initially proposed a loan before moving to a permanent transfer. West Ham United were also associated with January interest in the player.
French football journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi reported Coquelin has agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract, which will keep him in Spain until the summer of 2022:
Mohamed Bouhafsi @mohamedbouhafsi
@RMCsport Arsenal’s French central midfielder Francis #Coquelin has reached an agreement with Valencia over a 4.5 year contract. #Arsenal and Valencia are expected to wrap up fee negotiations in the next 24 hours.
Coquelin has left the Emirates Stadium after a nine-year spell in north London, having first joined Arsenal’s academy from Stade Lavallois in 2008 and earning his first-team debut in September that year.
The 26-year-old’s first-team aspirations have taken a significant step back with the Gunners of late, though, suffering from the 2016 arrival of central midfielder Granit Xhaka and the return to form of club favourite Jack Wilshere.
The Telegraph‘s Matt Law questioned whether Arsenal were letting their player leave for too little, under the impression Valencia had got a good deal:
Matt Law @Matt_Law_DT
£10m for coquelin seems a bit cheap to say the least – you struggle to buy decent championship players for £10m these days. More Arsenal weirdness
Manager Arsene Wenger handed Coquelin just one Premier League start this season prior to his departure, although he did start in four of their UEFA Europa League group-stage fixtures.
Despite his Arsenal career ending on a low note, Coquelin was highly valued among the squad for a time and impressed in particular upon returning from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic in December 2014.
The anchor provided a much-needed presence in the engine room for the remainder of the 2014-15 campaign, but his importance once again diminished over time, resulting in an eventual permanent move away from the club.
Coquelin could turn out to be a worthy investment at a reported £10 million and has demonstrated some proficiency as a ball-winner in midfielder, and Valencia chief Marcelino Garcia Toral will be hoping the Frenchman’s best is to come in La Liga.