Star wishes he left Arsenal sooner

Ex-Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has said he has a sense of regret at not leaving the club last summer.

The Frenchman joined Spanish side Valencia on Thursday on a four and half year contract. Coquelin has endured a frustrating season at the Emirates in which he made seven starts in all competitions. Speaking after his 10-year association with the Gunners was ended, Coquelin admitted perhaps he should have gone sooner.

- It’s true that there was interest in the summer but in my head, I wanted to continue at Arsenal and do well there. It wasn’t to be and now this opportunity has come up. I almost regret not having come before. I think it’s an excellent opportunity for me and I’m very grateful. It’s a big challenge, and a new start in my life for me, which I’m very excited about, said the Frenchman.

Coquelin, who is understood to have moved for a fee of around £12 million, only signed a new contract with Arsenal a year ago. He has a £71.2m release clause in his Valencia contract.