Arsenal officials divided over Francis Coquelin's future

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Arsene Wenger is yet to decide whether or not to sign another defensive midfielder after the emergence of Francis Coquelin, reports The Evening Standard.

The Frenchman seemed to have little or no future at the Emirates after being sent on loan to Charlton Athletic with little over six months remaining on his contact.

An injury crisis in midfield forced Wenger to recall him from that loan spell and his impressive form has since seen him become a first-team regular for the Gunners and sign a long-term deal.

With the transfer window set to open, there is now an ongoing argument amongst senior Arsenal officials over whether they need to sign a new defensive midfielder or entrust Coquelin with the role next season.

Some believe that giving the role to Coquelin, 24, is too much of a risk to take with Wenger under pressure to mount a Premier League title challenge next season.

Others believe the Frenchman has proved himself and earned to right to be the main defensive midfielder for the club with Mikel Arteta sitting behind him in reserve.

The potential replacements

Arsenal had already drawn up a list of potential summer signings before Coquelin arrived on the scene and are still interested in Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin.

The Saints midfielder is available for £25m and is more than ready to agitate his way out of St Mary's in pursuit of Champions League football.

If they fail to land Schneiderlin, who is also wanted by Manchester Untied, then Wenger is also considering a move for Monaco midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia.

He would also cost the club £25m and would arrive without vital Premier League experience. The same goes for other targets William Carvalho of Sporting Lisbon and Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan.

Wenger's confidence boost

Wenger hit the nail on the head last month when he claimed no one would be questioning Coquelin's ability had they paid £40m to sign him in the January transfer window.

Fans are questioning the player's ability because they know he emerged from the Arsenal ranks and had previously failed to impress.

The Arsenal boss said: "If we had bought Coquelin at Christmas for £40m, everyone would say 'what a signing'. I am sorry he didn't cost any money, he is still a good player.

"What is a player worth today? Nobody knows really. I just wanted to say that if we had bought (Coquelin), nobody would complain that he was a good player.

"Nobody would dispute that his performances have been convincing and that he is ready for a fight even if somebody comes in. He has shown he has the capacity to play for us and play a big part in the success of the team. I extended his contract, that means I believe in him."

The decision

Should Wenger ditch his plans to sign a new midfielder then he could reinvest in other areas of the squad.

Arsenal certainly need a new goalkeeper and Chelsea's Petr Cech won't come cheap. They could also pursue a marquee addition in the striker section with Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain being linked with a move.


Do Arsenal still need a defensive midfielder?

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Morgan Schneiderlin
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