Wenger: Coquelin proof you can never say never


Arsene Wenger says that Francis Coquelin’s rise to first team prominence was something of a surprise to him, and that he expected a decision about his future to be one about letting him go rather than offering him a new deal.

Indeed, he’s revealed the midfielder wasn’t best pleased when he was recalled from loan at Charlton as he felt he was going to just provide cover for the bench rather than playing, but after impressing massively since his return to the club he’s been given a new contract and given Wenger pause for thought in the transfer market.

“He wasn’t happy when I called him back,” said the Arsenal manager. “He played at Charlton and he thought I just called him back for cover. He expected in fact to play against QPR and was not playing and was surprised when I played him against West Ham.

“I told him, at the start of the season, to give absolutely everything from the start of the season until Christmas.

“Then we will see together and see where you are. If you respect that you have done a big part of your job.

“Did I think the chat in mid-season would be about him leaving? Yes. In myself, if he doesn’t play at Christmas at all, and there’s only six months contract to go, I let him go somewhere else.”

Football has that ability to surprise, and Wenger believes Coquelin has taken his chance through determination and simplifying his game.

“He knows it’s an opportunity for him. He has gone through a lot of doubt questioning himself, being certainly at many times being discouraged that he doesn’t get a chance.

“Now that he has a chance he doesn’t want to let it slip away. But he is a winner and he wants to win – that’s why he is so committed.”

And on his game and effectiveness since his ‘promotion’, the Arsenal manager said, “I think Coquelin analysed well what he is good at: defending in midfield.

“He was in between a bit the play-making position and a box-to-box player. He is not that – he’s a sitting player who can win the ball. He restricted his game to that and you make success in life with what you’re good at.

“The only thing I do is that I never say never to anybody. In my job you have to be open-minded like that. You have to make decisions at times. But never close the door completely for anybody.”

It’s an amazing turnaround, by any standards, and one which has left the manager trying to decide if he’ll buy a holding midfield player this summer.

But that’s a worry for then, in the meantime let’s hope he can continue his good form until the end of the season and, perhaps, help cap a remarkable story with some silverware.

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I think wenger has also realised that we are not going to progress unless we defend better


And it only took him 9 years


Bore off….


Cant remember how many times i’ve hear/read somethihg like this, yet see what happened against monaco

happy gunner

Hope his nose is okay!


His nose in the pic is passing out air like it knows whats coming.

Always knew he was a talent!

Nasri's missing chinbone

A persistent coq works wonders

Runcorn Gooner

Time to Thumb Down every poster who thinks it’s clever to repeat ad nauseum those not very funny comments based on Coquelin’s name


I can’t see us buying in the summer, unless Flamini and Arteta leave. If they go, then I think he will bring in someone to challenge Coquelin for the position. Plus there is Chambers, I am not sure where his best position is yet, Right-Back, Centre-Back or Defensive Midfield. He does seem more comfortable when in the Middle, rather than out wide. Looking at the players we have at present, Right-back seems a little crowded, there’s Debuchy, Bellerin, Chambers and Jenkinson (when he returns). I think we’ll see Chambers moved to provide cover for Coquelin on a more permanent basis,… Read more »

cheeky boy

Flamini and Arteta are both not good enough, simple as. We need to reinvest in the DM role over the summer 100%

Dick Swiveller

Arteta is good enough, by pretty much any metric you choose to use. Flamini was decent enough last season but has been a bit ropey this season, I expect him to leave and to be replaced by someone more suited to us, like Schneiderlin.


next season arteta will be another year older and recovering from an injury that took him out for the better part of a year. we can’t rely on him going forward and need a replacement (and an upgrade)


maybe we don’t need the Coquelin’s partner in midfield (be it Ramsey/Wilshere/Arteta) to go forward at all, I feel much more comfortable when we have 2 sitting midfielders and the remaining 4 upfront with the flank backs to do the bombing forward, saying that, we definitely need a back-up or an upgrade to Coquelin next season for the specialist anchorman role


I agree with you regarding Schneiderlin but I will give you plenty of metrics which which show Arteta isn’t good enough to play the DM role for Arsenal: ball recovery, defending (tackling, defensive headers, positioning to defend vs counter attacks, ), stamina and the ‘legs’. He doesn’t have the recovery pace of athleticism any more to play this role when Arsenal do not have the ball. He is very good with the ball and a technician though, which is why Schneiderlin would be great for us as he can do both: keep the ball, recylcing possession in tight areas as… Read more »

Serge Blanco

Spot on. Coq and Schneidelin to compete next year. Athleticism key to DM role. Arteta is not an athlete at his age.

Dick Swiveller

Yeah? I seeem to remember the statistics I saw had him down as a good tackler, and a decent header of the ball as well. I can’t remember exactly though, so if you have the numbers I’ll trust ya on that, he wasn’t ever Maldini!

I reckon he did a good job anyway, no coincidence that our midfield looked a lot more stable when he plays.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Much more talk about Schneiderlin than our own players. Do people realise he plays for Southampton ? Hope this buzz fade like the Klopp madness at least until the end of season.


You are dead wrong with the tackling there, as far as I remember, he had great numbers there. But maybe I’m wrong or it changed, in which case I invite you to provide some data for the metric you’ve suggested.

Rohith J

Flamini will leave. Arteta will get a one year extension going by previous reports. But we so obviously do have space in the team for a defensive central MF as Diaby’s space will also be free. Depends on whether Wenger sees Bielik or Hayden there. If you ask me, we could use a player with experience, muscle, aerial strength and positional discipline.


or Chambers…

Luis Boa Muerte

What about Maitland-Niles? He really impressed me in his handful of appearances this year but he never seems to be mentioned as someone who might make it in the long-run. Don’t see Chambers as anything other than a centre back.


Its been the managers biggest fault, mourinho gets rid of club player of the year, crowd favourites, buys what he needs and improves. Wengers refusals to improve the squad at vital times has cost us world class players and titles


It depends on what your ambitions are. If your happy with a possible top four finish and maybe a last 16 of the champions league then the team as it is probably strong enough. If you want a real title challenge then we need a world class center forward and the same in in the defensive midfield role. Giroud and and the coq are very good players and would have a role to play in any title winning team. But not as the main players in those positions. Santi, Ozil and Sanchez are work class and need just two players… Read more »



Gus Caesar

Depends on the agenda you’re looking to fulfil doesn’t it? You could say that Wenger absolutely does get rid of players of the year, including crowd favourites, and buys what he needs and improves. You could say that selling Clichy, Toure, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, van Persie, Adebayor, Song, Eduardo etc were examples of getting rid of very popular players. You could also say that buying Alexis, Ozil, Welbeck, Debuchy, Gabriel, Cazorla, Monreal, Giroud were excellent examples of him actually not refusing to improve the squad at vital times. You could also argue that we’re a vastly improved team from the ragbag… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Of course I know that Jenkinson is not yet sold, but he will be.


I mentioned the coq and the need for a world class defensive midfielder. You may want to read it again. My points are relevant to the debate. You clearly don’t agree with my points. But I respect that. It’s all about opinions.

Gus Caesar

I wasn’t commenting on your points mate.


Yeah realised that gus.i fired a bit quick their and not for the first time according to the Mrs.

Gus Caesar



Could not agree more, i see that in Wenger playiny Sanchez/Ozil/Santi
One of them needs to be dropped, either Ozil for his workrate or Santi.

Serge Blanco

Expect us to go for another DM to provide ccompetition for Coq next season. Will be surprised if Arteta and Flamini with us next year and Bielik too young. French press believe Schneiderlin will sign.


The French press are about as reliable as the English press.

David C

I guess Wenger has to determine if Arteta/Coq is enough coverage until the young polish player breaks through.

Does anyone think we are still going after a striker in the summer or do we have enough depth there already?


Ild love to see us move forward this summer with coq and schneiderlin in the squad. We can move on from arteta and flamini finally.

I think its clear in certain games we need to play with more pragmatism and not be naive in how we set up


Full of admiration for coquelin. He’s a younger, fitter upgrade on Flamini and great to see him take his chance. I’d still like to see Wenger buy a deep-lying, ball-playing CM like Schneiderlin or even someone like Cabaye now that Arteta’s career is coming to an end. I don’t necessarily want such a player to replace Coquelin but in some cases to actually play alongside him; big away games, for example, so that we’re much harder to beat. Anything to stop those heart-dropping counter attack situations unfolding like a car crash in slow motion!


Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva… Francis Coquelin, ya gotta be kiddin me! Only the poor deluded fools still bedazzled by Le Boss believe that one.


Vieira and Gilberto played mainly in 4-4-2 systems. Arsenal now mainly play 5 (or 3 depending how you look at it) across the midfield.

Nobody is suggesting Coquelin is going to be the new Vieira. But alongside another deep-lying CM he could be extremely effective, breaking up play and passing square. He’s not so different from someone like Matuidi who works so well alongside Veratti. Those two completely overran Chelsea’s midfield in their first leg, particularly in the second half. When was the last time we managed that?

Gus Caesar

Clearly you’re one of these poor deluded fools that pigeon holes human beings and doesn’t believe they have the ability to improve?

Henry! Chance!! Goal!!!

I can’t thumb your comment down enough times. You make use of your opportunities in life to be successful and Coquelin is doing that. Everyone develops at different rates and at different times. It’s taken Coquelin a different pace and a different route than others but he is getting there. As for your comment about Wenger lying to us, our eyes don’t lie to us and we can see the improvement the boy has made. Everyone can see it except biased people who don’t believe a player is any good except you buy them for 30m. People like you are… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Precisely, well said.




Well said. And the key to thumbing down the original comment enough times is to clear your cache, thumb it down again, clear your cache, thumb it down again, repeat until satisfied. May take several hours as personally I wouldn’t be satisfied until the thumbs down was in four digits.


full credit to coquelin – great work ethic and character to come back into the team and win games for us. love this guy’s fight. still need another signing for this position so the two can rotate. expect flamini to be on his way out this summer…maybe arteta as well. it’s concerning that wenger didn’t see the potential to develop him into a defensive midfielder. isn’t that wenger’s job…especially when we’ve needed one badly in the past few years? it’s a total fluke that coquelin is in the first team and staying on at arsenal. if it weren’t for the… Read more »


Agreed, it is a complete fluke.
Coq was a clear DM in the reserves and academy, and only had one bad loan (Freiberg) whilst his Lorient and first team appearances were all great. Yet especially at the start of the season, Flamini showed absolutely nothing to prove as the better option. Coquelin was always better.

This is just an example of sometimes when Wenger for whatever reason, doesn’t give a player a chance. I think the same thing could’ve easily happened with the likes of Vela tbh.

Dick Swiveller

`Not thinking the player is going to be good enough would be the likely reason, unless he simply dislikes players based on haircuts.

Black Hei

That bad loan was only last season you twit.

Hey here is my crystal ball. It says that since Podolski flops while on loan he will turn out great for us next season, just like Coquelin!


wow. and you’re calling other’s twit? that’s one of the stupidest comments i’ve read. congratulations.

Gus Caesar

Didn’t he give Coquelin a chance then? Sorry, I must have dreamed the last few months… You’re clearly right, Wenger never gives youngsters a chance. Chambers, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Wilshere etc were obviously also figments of our imagination… As for it being a fluke, Wenger admits himself that he didn’t think Coquelin would take his chance but you can hardly argue that us playing a player we’d signed and developed for years as a fluke – you make it sound as if he just fell out of the sky. The bottom line is that it’s not easy to get into the… Read more »

Good Stuff

How can you criticise Wenger for not recognising a talent that is in a team picked by Wenger? It is anything but an accident. There is a system! In this case, the system has worked rather well!!


how did it work? if it wasn’t for injuries to arteta and flamini wenger would’ve sold coquelin. you can’t tell me that a 2 month loan spell at charlton turned coquelin into the player he is today. he was that player at the beginning of the season and wenger chose to send him out because he preferred flamini and arteta. of course wenger gives youth chances, but he also has favourites. jack wilshere for example. it seems to me that wenger has tried for as long as possible to not play a dm because he prefers technical skill (arteta) over… Read more »


Wenger bought Coquelin so he obviously spotted potential there, he also molded him in to a defensive midfielder despite starting him as a full back, so i guess he harnessed that potential. Coquelin was given a few opportunities both at arsenal and on loan and did ok but never exactly ripped up trees, Ahead of him was maybe 15 midfielders of international class and a system that wenger built around continuity and attacking midfielders. Now when he was recalled, the arsenal “fans” broadly rounded on wenger and criticised him for giving coquelin a chance saying we need to go out… Read more »


Right on dude. Points well made, doubly well made.


SDB, who then, did develop our Coq if it wasn’t AW? ‘Total fluke’ that he is in the team? What a ridiculous remark..


We still need another world class DM. A blistering pace player like Willian/Fernando(into) to compliment Coq who is kinda our Matic (less pace). If you look at all the top3-4 teams in the top leagues they all have 2-3 TOP TOP DM’s. That should be our big summer signing. And then check the ins and outs. Cant be many. But who would we sign? please don’t say Song he isn’t unto scratch. He went to play the Flamini role for Barca. I would take him as our 3rd choice backup. if we got rid of Flamini and Arteta. But considering… Read more »


Who are City’s “2-3 top top DMs”? Fernando? Fernandinho?
What about Chelsea? Outside of Matic, who’s next? Ramirez? Mikel? Top DMs, you say.

Dick Swiveller

Chelsea have no-one that can do it anywhere near as well as Matic, I would say both Coquelin and Arteta are better options in that role than Mikel and Ramires (though I do like Ramires’ energy in a more box-to-box role). They have the best first 11 and some very talented backups, but DM is not a good example of it. Also, Fernando is a bit bad imo; he isn’t even the best Fernand in Manchester. I agree on Song though, can’t see him taking the wages we’d offer for the odd cup game and an occasionally frustrating run in… Read more »


We -I don’t want Song anyway, he’s an Arsenal reject remember?


We still need another world class DM, true, but i believe that is why Wenger bought the young man from Poland, Beilik or whats is name. The boy is 6’2 @ age 17, so he has every chance to be Viera’s height and fill out more in stature.

The only way Wenger will buy a new DM is if he gets rid of some of the club’s deadwoods, like Diaby/Flaminni etc, even Arteta.

Bendtner's Ego

We need another mythical holding unicorn.

It is that last piece to the puzzle which brings us multiple trophies, ticker-tape parades, and 90 minute documentary videos, which also feature out takes of banter sessions between the lads.


Cant wait to see him running around in a face mask. Our coq needs to wear protection now.

Arsenal man

Morgan Scheneiderlin is the answer . Period .

Luis Boa Muerte

I do rate him, but the way some fans have taken to him before we even know if he’s a target or not is strange. He also has the advantage of playing next to another DM so is rarely stretched.

Off the top of my head I can think of J. Martinez, Bender (x2?), Khedira, L. Gustavo, De Jong, Gonalons and Matuidi as DMs/Ball Winners who could be equally good answers.

Gus Caesar

Correct. Also people forget that Schneiderlin has been playing at a lower level where the scrutiny on your mistakes is simply not the same. I think he has talent but Arsenal are another level to what he’s used to. The question I’d ask is: if he’s that great then why he’s been at Southampton for so long (7 years) with no other club taking him on?


Yep, khedira for Arteta’s role, I would guess that he’s pretty high on our list, though I’m not very confident whether we can get him if bayern (or a similar club) is really interested.


Problem with Khedira is he’s older and injury prone. Bender would be good. Pogba would be brilliant, although it would take more money than God has to get him.


I think having arteta and coq will provide the ultimate balance regardless who the others are in the midfield

Gooners & Roses

Ramsey-Coquelin for me. unless the opposition has zero interest at all to attack/counter, then Ramsey-Arteta is better.


Coq is gud but we need one more dm like sisoko or the boy in soton.

The Ghost of Paul Robinson

– Sissoko
– DM

Pick one.


It was the same with Walcott and Ramsey albeit with the those two, they were never really one foot out of the door. Coquelin is proof we do not need a tall strapping player to do the job. He stands 5’10 which is the same height as Artetta and Flamini. I believe we should retain Flamini for a couple more seasons. Arteta may need to move on bc of wear and tear issues with age. We could then develop Bielik over next two seasons and probably bring in that taller player to add option covering as a DM but more… Read more »


I’m glad to see our Coq rise to the occasion, long may he remain firm in the challenge.

Black Hei

He will be wearing protection though. Better safe than sorry!

True Red

We’ve already signed our future DM… Krystian Bielik. He’ll understudy Frankie and Arteta for the next couple of years then step in.


Shneiderlin deal was on. Then the saints realised that they had a chance for champions league this season. Then the deal was off. Shneiderlin wasn’t happy about it the koeman kidnapped madame rudy(shneiderlin aunty’s cat)and told him to see out his contact or the cat is dead. Poor Morgan he had no choice but to stay. Vive Le Coq

Gunner pundit

Where is rambling pete?


I’m annoyed someone mentioned song. Traitor


Happy for the Coq…he clearly has given Arsenal something to look forward to… I have no problem with Arteta but Flamini should just leave…ooh and why do we still have Diaby on the payroll?? He is a classic talent but lets be realistic- he should have retired 100 years ago- his body wont let him play!


Diaby’s only technically on the payroll, as he hasn’t accepted any wages while he’s been injured. Please stop whining about that.

Martin Murray

After Alexis, he’s been my favourite player this season, brilliant since returning

Springbank 1962

You’ve got to be proud of the guy. Wanting to play – even at Charlton – even with a broken nose.

The same goes for Bellerin. Monreal, even. And then there’s Jon-Miquel Toral at Brentford. Wenger & Co must be doing something right.


Here’s the plan:
1. Get rid of flamini
2. Retain coq, get arteta on a two year deal
3.Get Schneiderlin
4. Now bielik has time to be ready and eventually replace arteta’s spot