Former Gunner Charlie Nicholas believes Arsenal should consider selling Francis Coquelin in the summer, despite the midfielder newly signing an extension at the club.
Since returning from his loan spell at Charlton in December 2014, the 25-year-old has developed into a key member of Arsene Wenger’s first-team plans and has also endeared himself to the Arsenal fans with his combative play.
However, Sky Sports pundit Nicholas reckons the Frenchman could become surplus to requirements when Wenger has all his midfield options available:
‘I don’t have a problem with him getting a new deal. I’m not his greatest fan, but they don’t have many options in that position.
‘Santi Cazorla is out for a long period, Mohamed Elneny is away and Jack Wilshere is on loan, so Arsene Wenger certainly can’t afford to let him go right now.
‘However, when everybody’s fit and fresh Coquelin would be lucky to get in the 18. We simply need numbers in that department right now.
‘He’ll do a job short term and after that you’d think they’d get a decent price for him. It puts his value up and I would sell him in the summer when everybody is fit.’
Coquelin is currently sidelined through injury but has started 15 of Arsenal 21 Premier League matches so far this season. Despite the signing Of Granit Xhaka last summer, the Frenchman remains Wenger’s main defensive midfielder, and Nicholas is right to suggest that the club cannot consider selling him this month.
However, when the season is over and the likes of Cazorla, Wilshere and Elneny are made available, Wenger will have a number of midfielders at his disposal. Cazorla is highly likely to be at Arsenal next season as is Elneny, but Wilshere’s future is remains doubtful, with talks of an exit emerging. But despite the options in midfield, Coquelin, for many, is a key member of the first-team and does his job well, and for this reason, I can’t see Arsenal offloading him this summer, even if Nicholas would.