Arsenal are poised to offer French midfielder Francis Coquelin a new three-year contract following his impressive run in the first team over recent weeks.
The 23-year-old was expected to leave the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season, when his current deal expires, having played a peripheral role with the Gunners over recent years.
But since being recalled from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic last month, Coquelin has exceeded expectations and is now set to put pen-to-paper on a contract extension, according to the Mirror.
Coquelin instrumental in unlikely Arsenal win
The France Under-21 international has played every minute of Arsenal’s previous four Premier League fixtures - and was arguably the Gunners’ Man of the Match during Sunday’s unexpected 2-0 win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Few predicted Arsenal would win the match against the reigning Premier League champions, but Arsene Wenger stunned fans and pundits alike by adjusting his tactics accordingly.
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Wenger sacrificed playing Mesut Ozil, the team’s playmaker who was left on the substitutes’ bench, in favour of the defensively-minded Coquelin - and the veteran French coach’s tactical switch paid dividends.
Bad news for Mathieu Flamini?
However, news that Arsenal will offer Coquelin a new contract may not be such good news for his midfield teammate Mathieu Flamini.
The former France international only came on for the final six minutes against Manchester City and was an unused substitute in the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Stoke City a week earlier.
The 30-year-old has made 24 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal this season, but may find himself on the bench for the foreseeable future as a direct result of Coquelin’s fine form.
The younger midfielder has caught the eye in recent weeks thanks to his energy, work rate and, most importantly, defensive discipline.
His ability to close off the space between Arsenal’s midfield and defence at the Etihad Stadium - thus limiting David Silva’s influence - was one of the major reasons why the Gunners came away from their match with all three points at the weekend.
Is Coquelin the future?
Arsenal fans were hoping to see a new top-class holding midfielder arrive at the Emirates Stadium this month - such as Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira or Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin - but it seems Wenger will put his faith in Coquelin to prove he has what it takes to hold down a regular place in the Gunners’ first team.