After 10 years at the Emirates Stadium, France international Francis Coquelin decided to end his contract with the North London club joining Valencia in a deal worth around €12m.
In his four-and-a-half-year contract with the Spanish side was a €80m release clause which means he could only leave Valencia for nothing less than €80million.
The defensive midfielder seems to have settled down seamlessly after his move in January as his performance looks more brilliant than during his time at the Emirates Stadium. Surprisingly, he found the back of the net for the first time in seven years against Malaga last weekend.
The 26-year-old who has ties with Spain was interviewed by Clicanoo — a local Spanish media outlet — on Tuesday where he was asked about his debut for Valencia and some other issues including how he felt leaving his old club Arsenal.
According to the Frenchman, leaving Arsenal wasn’t an easy decision to make as he was comfortable during his stay under Arsene Wenger’s watch.
He said: “It isn’t that easy when you’ve spent 10 years somewhere, but I needed a new challenged. You tend to get into a comfort zone when you stay several years in the same clubs. You try and challenge yourself, but it’s a bit harder. Here, I’m starting from scratch.
“It’s a new experience, a new training method, new teammates and a new environment. All that means I was thrilled by the project. There’s interesting goals to accomplish. I’m focused on that.”
When asked about life at his new club, Coquelin admitted it has been great so far. According to him, his teammates have helped him settled down quickly and he is set to help the team accomplish their mission for the season which is to finish among the top four clubs in the league.
“He’s someone I have a lot of respect for. If I’m here in my career, it’s because of him. We left on good terms. I wish him the best, and I hope Arsenal will finish the season well. Like us”.
Francis Coquelin further praised his former manager, Arsene Wenger who according to him was influential in his move to Valencia. He concluded by confirming that he had a good relationship with the manager despite being sparingly used by the French manager.