Francis Coquelin was unwanted at Arsenal, but could shine under Marcelino at Valencia.
For some, the sale of Coquelin to Valencia is just Arsenal shedding excessive baggage.
The French midfielder was once a key player in the Arsenal side and formed a very good partnership with Santi Cazorla.
Yet, his synergy with the Spaniard seemed to be the only thing that could get good performances out of him.
Coquelin at Arsenal was a whole-hearted player and added bite to the midfield, but at the expense of discipline and grace.
But while that bothered Arsenal fans, it’ll help him fit right in at Valencia.
Marcelino’s side have been much improved this season.
After years of inconsistency and strange signings, they’re finally making progress again.
Their explosive start to the season made them unlikely title challengers. They’ve since dropped off, but are still set for a comfortable top four finish – something that Arsenal are, ironically, a long way from accomplishing.
Key to their success has been improving unfancied players.
As noted by Guillem Balague, Marcelino has a habit of improving the form of players other clubs didn’t want.
Gabriel, for example, has seen his form improve dramatically since returning to Spain.
Geoffrey Kondogbia and Simone Zaza, two players considered to be flops when signed, have been key to their form.
At times, Coquelin could get lost in the chaos of Arsenal’s midfield and end up trying to cover more space than he was able.
That won’t be the case at Valencia, who are compact and energetic.
Their game revolves around winning the ball back and hurting the opposition with quick counters.
Ball-winning was Coquelin’s biggest strength, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he flourished in Spain.