11 Jan, 10:30
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has completed a move to Spanish side Valencia, with an official announcement imminent.
The 26-year-old, who has spent a decade in north London with the Gunners, is believed to have signed a four-and-a-half year deal after rejecting a move to West Ham. He has featured only sparingly for Arsenal this season, starting just once in the Premier League in a heavy loss to Manchester City, while he was not in the squad to take on Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round defeat.
Reports in Spain emerged on Wednesday afternoon that Valencia were closing in on the Frenchman, with the club even tweeting out a cryptic hint. The high-flying club, currently third in La Liga, took to Twitter to post a picture of a suitcase baring the letters ‘FC’ on it, along with the caption: ‘We already have a new one ready.’
And now Wenger has confirmed that Coquelin is leaving Arsenal after watching his side claim a spirited draw at Chelsea, simply stating ‘yes’ when questioned on whether the 26-year-old had joined Valencia. Reports in England suggested the Gunners would receive only around £10m for Coquelin, though Spanish publication El Confidencial are claiming the fee will be closer to €25m (£22m) if Arsenal get their way.
Coquelin’s move to the Mestalla will see him reunited with former Arsenal centre-back Gabriel, who joined Valencia last summer. The move is expected to be completed and officially announced in the next 24 hours, with Coquelin flying to Spain to undergo a medical on Thursday, and continues what could be a very busy January for Arsenal and Wenger.