Francis Coquelin is looking forward to making a fresh start at Valencia after several years at Arsenal and admits Santi Cazorla helped him with his decision to leave Arsenal for Valencia.
He spent nearly a decade at Arsenal after joining as a teenager from Stade Laval in 2008.
After 160 appearances for the club, he decided that now was the time for a new start, much to the disappointment of some fans.
“After many years at Arsenal, I needed a change, a new, interesting long-term project like Valencia. The fact it was a permanent transfer make it more attractive,” he told Super Deporte.
The midfielder will join ex-Arsenal defender Gabriel at Valencia.
It turns out that the Brazilian, along with Santi Cazorla, played a big part in convincing Coquelin that Valencia was the place to be.
“Yes, of course, I know him (Gabriel). We played together at Arsenal, along with Mustafi, who was also at Valencia. I spoke with Santi Cazorla the most. He knows the manager. All the information has been good and positive.”
Coquelin will now try to get into a settled starting line-up at his new club.
Dani Parejo and Geoffrey Kondogbia have been Marcelino’s first choice partnership in midfield.
He knows that he will have adapt well if he wants to win a starting place.
“I have to respect those who play and appreciate what’s been done by Parejo and Kondogbia,” he said.
“I’ve come to be a long-term player and have signed for four and a half years, but I have great ambitions. The team is at a great level and I’ll have to adapt and win a place.”
Coquelin made the move after he found first team opportunities hard to come by at Arsenal this season.
He’s made just 13 appearances this season, with nearly half of those coming in the Carabao Cup and the Europa League.
Despite wanting to play for Arsenal, the opportunity to be a first team regular else where couldn’t be passed up.
“I wanted to stay because I was focused on doing good things with Arsenal. It was not to be, and now an excellent opportunity and appeared.
“I am very happy to be in Valencia.”