Last summer on the recommendations of Giles Grimandi Arsenal signed a young French midfielder from Stade Laval. As with most of Arsenal’s French signings Francis Coquelin was a mystery.
He made his debut against Barnet and also played against Szombathelyi Haladás. Even though the opposition on both occasions was not top rate, Francis showed great potential. He was not fazed by the stage he was playing at, he continued to play his normal game.
He breaks up play with ease, and strokes the ball around the field bringing in others into play. He has continued to perform in this manner all season both for the reserves and the all conquering youth team.
Coquelin is not a tall player, he stands at 5 foot 10, but neither were Makelele nor Lassana Diarra tall, yet they are acknowledged to be two of the best holding midfield players in the game. Many commentators have compared Coquelin to his two compatriots.
Coquelin is an aggressive player and will be looking forward to a place in the pre-season squad to Austria this summer. He will be looking to show Arsene that he is not far away from first team football. He certainly has the attributes to make into the first team, but not to become a regular at this moment in time.
This is the dilemma facing Arsene this summer, with young players like Coquelin, Frimpong, Randall, Merida and Ramsey all pushing for a first team start if not this season then certainly next season, who does Arsene recruit without curtailing their progress.
Give time Coquelin will become a regular starter for Arsenal and will be an effective midfielder, giving us defensive cover for the back four, whilst also contributing to our attacking play.
Arsenal have today confirmed that Francis Coquelin has joined the club.
Coquelin has been training with Arsenal all summer, the young 17 year old French midfielder joins from Stade Lavallois, no transfer fee has been reported. Coquelin refused to sign a professional contract with his team Laval, he was a free agent. Arsenal have signed several players on this basis in the past and even though no fee is payable, Arsenal have always paid a nominal fee to stay on good terms with French teams.
Coquelin becomes Arsenal’s third signing, with Amaury Bischoff expected to be announced next week as the fourth summer signing after he too refused to sign a new contract with Werder Bremen.