Arsenal has confirmed the departure of their French midfielder, Francis Coquelin to Valencia for a fee of £11m. The news has come as a shock to the club fans who romanticised the 25-year-old’s performances in an Arsenal shirt and has seen him progress through the club ranks to the first team.
His exit is also concerning for a side who has the worst defensive record amongst the top six clubs of the Premier League. Coquelin is primarily a holding midfielder with a tireless work ethic to hold the team’s structure from the central areas of the pitch. His ability to intercept and win back possession is very valuable for a side whose game is offensively dominant.
Arsene Wenger no longer deploys a team with a heavy presence in the midfield area and has fallen in love with the new midfield formation. Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere are the first picks under him now that Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla are serving a spell on the sidelines.
This definitely hurt the chances of Coquelin to be selected regularly including Egyptian talent, Mohamed Elneny. The club is competing in multiple competitions this season and is aiming for a top-four finish. To come out of the season successful a replacement for Coquelin is necessary and Wenger should consider a few options in the coming weeks.
Drawing heavy interest from rivals, Chelsea, the Belgian international is a supreme talent who will do more than just fill the boots of Coquelin. He was dropped from the AS Roma squad in their 1-2 loss against Atalanta last Saturday. He is valued at £40m by the club and is closing in on a deal with the Blues.
Nainggolan is very well suited to play the anchor role alongside a player like Jack Wilshere and will provide a lot going forward. The price tag is justified and Wenger can make the swoop ahead of Antonio Conte who is also interested in signing Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich.
Jean Michaël Seri
He was all set to join Barcelona in the January transfer window before the transfer fell through and the Catalan giants decided to splurge everything over Philippe Coutinho. Seri’s performances had previously drawn Wenger’s attention and maybe a move to the Emirates can finally be completed.
He is on West Ham United’s list for a transfer and currently plays for Sunderland. Although a lesser known figure in the EFL Championship, the South Korean international is very disciplined in the holding midfield role and can come in as a cheap option.
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