If the precipitation of injuries in the Arsenal midfield that gave Francis Coquelin a chance to return to the team was a blessing for him in disguise, his recent bullish performances which have seen him already displace Mattieu Flamini from the top list maybe the confirmation to gooners that Arsene might not be in search for a defensive midfielder this January.
After being rather cautious in his appraisal a few weeks ago after the West Ham game, Wenger has now asserted his belief in Coquelin’s abilities as always being of the caliber to succeed at the Emirates.
“I took him from France at the age of 16. Today he is 23.” Wenger said on Arsenal.com
“He has gone through some difficult periods but he’s a learner from his experiences. I’ve always kept faith in him, because I told him three months ago that he needed to play somewhere. He accepted to go down to Charlton and had convincing performances.
Now he’s come back, I’ve played him and he’s done very well.”
Not only has he drawn praise from his manager but from teammates as well. You’d have noticed how Rosicky warmly held his head when he made a vital interception during that City game – the 34 year-old veteran should know a good player when he sees one. Coquelin’s midfield partner at City, Aaron Ramsey (who will now most likely be his regular partner for a good stretch before Wilshere returns), was marveled by the turnaround the player’s career has witnessed.
“He has done well” Arsenal.com quotes Ramsey.
“He’s at that age now where he understands the game a lot more and he has done really well in the last few weeks.
“It is funny how quickly things can change in football. One week he was on loan at Charlton and then he comes back in and he has been in the team every week. He has done a very good job defensively for the team.”
“He wins it back, keeps it simple and just keeps things ticking over. Hopefully he can build on his performances that he has been showing of late and he has got every chance of turning into a top defensive midfielder.”
So what does this mean then, other than the fact that, like Robbie Savage has recently said, Coquelin may just have given Wenger the reason to put his cheque book back into his pockets or at least, divert the funds into the purse for a defender. Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin has been the most touted ‘perfect’ solution and Dietmar Hamman has recently suggested Lars Bender, but it does not seem either player would be available this January.
The stats prove that Coquelin has played better than Arteta and Flamini and if it will not be possible to land a real top class midfielder who will settle in immediately and give as much as the young lad has given, it wouldn’t sound unreasonable to regard his return from Charlton in December as a new signing afterall.
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