20 Jan 2015

Arsenal in talks with Francis Coquelin over new deal

Francis Coquelin’s encouraging recent form since he was granted more regular involvement at Arsenal is set to be rewarded with talks under way with the Frenchman’s representatives aimed at securing him a new contract at the Emirates Stadium.

The 23-year-old’s Arsenal career had appeared to be winding down towards a summer release earlier this season when first-team opportunities were negligible and he was duly loaned to Charlton Athletic in the Championship. Yet, having played five times in the second tier, he returned to establish himself in the squad back at his parent club over the last month with the likes of Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey sidelined by injury.

Coquelin, who had been sent on year-long loans to Lorient and Freiburg earlier in his career, has impressed when starting the London club’s last five games in all competitions as a defensive midfield shield, his last appearance coming in Sunday’s eye-catching win at the champions, Manchester City.

His form since returning to the fold has served to reaffirm Arsène Wenger’s faith in the youngster signed from Laval back in 2008, with Coquelin now ahead of his compatriot, Flamini, in the pecking order. Indeed, such has been his impact that the manager is keen to retain his services beyond the expiry of his contract in the summer and talks are now under way over extending his stay at the club.
“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,” said Ramsey in the aftermath of that win at the Etihad Stadium. “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.”

Credit: Dominic Fifield/GuardianSport

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