Unai Emery wants to bring Francis Coquelin to Villarreal according to a report in Spain which says the former Arsenal midfielder is up for sale and has interest from a few clubs.
Francis Coquelin has been gone from Arsenal for only two-and-a-half years but so much has happened since he was sold for £12.6m in 2018 that it feels like a lot longer.
With 160 appearances for Arsenal, he has yet to reach 100 for Valencia (he’s on 89) and they’re ready to let him go, provided they get a decent offer for him.
That seems to be the case for all but three players in the Valencia squad after their failure to make the Champions League and a need to cut their budget to their Europa League cloth. José Luis Gayà, Carlos Soler and Gonçalo Guedes, two of whom have already been linked with Arsenal, are the only ones said to be ‘non-transferable’.
Superdeporte are quite vague on the Premier League interest in the player while also noting that an offer from Qatar did not appeal to the 29-year-old. Monaco are briefly mentioned but Villarreal, however, are knocking.
Unai Emery was appointed as their manager last month after Javier Calleja stepped down. Going into the lockdown, Valencia’s form had not been good, prompting the club to speak to Emery. After the restart, however, results picked up and a late run saw them qualify for the Europa League.
The meeting with Emery seems to have played a role in Calleja’s decision, as you might expect, especially when you consider they had already sacked him at the end of 2018 only to bring him back in January 2019.
“I was aware of it and was waiting for them to communicate the news,” he told the El Transistor radio show, hosted by José Ramón de la Morena in Onda Cera. “They had some doubts and they didn’t trust we could react.
“I don’t hold any grudge but I’m hurt. I don’t think they will call me again, it’s the end of a period. Now, it’s the turn of Unai Emery and I hope he gets them as high as possible.
“I’m hurt by the way this has happened, I would have done it different.”
As for Coquelin, he was in negotiations with Valencia to extend his contract beyond 2022 during the lockdown, but the plug was pulled on that. It was something that must have hurt, especially after he had said only a few months ago, “In football you never know, but I am very good here.
“I want to be in Valencia for many years. I have a few years left on my contract, to see what happens, but it is clear that my family and I are doing very well in Valencia.”
Despite being worth €15m, he is expected to cost as little as €8m, with wages of between €6m and €7m-a-year.
There is likely a sell-on clause in his contract but those usually kick in if profit is being made which doesn’t look to be the case here as the La Liga side scramble to cut costs.