Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has echoed the Arsenal fans in hailing the influence of Francis Coquelin in recent weeks.
Coquelin was on loan at Charlton Athletic only a couple of months ago, but an injury crisis meant that he was recalled into the team – and little did we know that he’d swiftly become one of our most important players.
Anyone who has watched a decent amount of Arsenal’s games will confess that the team lacks a bona fide defensive midfielder to compliment our attacking prowess, and it is fair to say that the team would not have felt as solid against Manchester City without Coquelin playing a disciplined role in front of the back four.
That position may have been high on Arsene Wenger’s priorities in the January transfer window, but – as the boss loves to do – he found an “internal solution” (via Express)
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These qualities stood out for Oxlade-Chamberlain, and he told Arsenal’s official website:
“Since he’s come back, he’s taken his opportunities, he’s taken his chances to show how good he is and now I see him as a big part of our team. He is a really influential and key part to our success, especially at Manchester City.
“In recent weeks we’ve seen it but the Manchester City game really showed how important he is and how good he is. Hopefully that will continue for him because it’s good for us as well.”
Coquelin’s contract was due to expire at the end of the current season, but Arsene have acted quickly to conclude talks. The Frenchman is close to agreeing a new deal with us, with the contract “99% close” (via ESPN) to being done.