Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Francis Coquelin has been handed a new deal after impressing in his recent displays for the club.
This time last season it looked as though the Frenchman’s Emirates Stadium career was all but down the pan, as his loan spell to Bundesliga side SC Freiburg had been an unmitigated disaster. What followed was a spell at Championship outfit Charlton Athletic, though Wenger recalled him prematurely from The Valley due to the injury crisis he had on his hands.
Since then Coquelin has enjoyed something of a resurrection, having been handed his chance in the first-team and subsequently impressing. Nine appearances in all competitions have seen the 23-year-old increase his stock within the Gunners’ fold, and during Wenger’s press conference this morning he confirmed he has offered the player a new deal.
Whether or not that means Arsenal won’t be pursuing various leads in the January transfer window remains to be seen, with 17-year-old Krystian Bielik having joined the club yesterday from Legia Warsaw.
Wenger also confirmed that he wouldn’t be playing a part in the upcoming FA Cup fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion, leaving many to assume that he will slot into the youth system rather than getting first-team chances from the off.
As a result fans will be expecting more business to be undertaken prior to the close of the transfer window on February 2, with the acquisition of a renowned European midfielder surely set to take priority.
Sevilla’s Grzegorz Krychowiak has been mentioned as a possible target, and wouldn’t cost too much, whilst Southampton star Morgan Schneiderlin still finds himself on the radar.
Both of those men would be astute signings given how Wenger has struggled with injuries this year, though some will argue that it’s the strengthening of the defence that should take precedence.
With Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker the only two established centre-backs at the club there’s worries that they could be caught short in the future, and as such a host of targets have been named in connection with moves to north London.
Saint Etienne captain Loic Perrin and West Ham figurehead Winston Reid both continue to be linked with the Gunners, though it’s Villarreal’s Gabriel Paulista who Wenger has confirmed interest in.