Thierry Henry ran out of superlatives for Francis Coquelin following our 5-0 win over Aston Villa, and believes the best bit of business Arsene Wenger has done recently has been to bring the young Frenchman back from loan, according to Sky Sports.
The 23-year-old has been superb since being recalled from Charlton Athletic, and has excelled in the defensive midfield role. It’s a position we have looked weak in for years now, and has been a problem many believed Wenger would look to address this January.
Henry claims the boss would have been on the lookout for a defensive midfielder this winter, but the emergence of his young compatriot means our immediate need is not as great.
“For me the best thing they’ve done is bring Coquelin back from Charlton,” he said.
“Maybe if he hadn’t come back and played the way he did recently, Arsene would have gone and bought a defensive midfielder.
- [Match Highlights] Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle – All The Highlights & Best Bits
- [Player Ratings] Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle – Ozil Wonder Goal Saves Boring, Boring Arsenal
- [Confirmed Lineups] Arsenal v Newcastle United – Wilshere & Lacazette Start In 4-2-3-1
“He has been amazing, Arsenal don’t look like they will concede, they can score and he gave everyone protection everybody was talking about.
“Sometimes you look for that player and they are right in front of you. But the guy has matured, he went on loan, and knows he had to perform and he is doing it.”
Coquelin has given us the protection in midfield we have lacked for so long, and provides a platform for our attacking players to push on and play with more freedom.
Henry believes the quality shown by the young midfielder in recent weeks has eased the pressure on the manager, and means he can wait until the summer to find a top player rather than panic buying.
“What Coquelin does is allow you to go for the player you want in the summer, because in January you go for the player that is available,” he continued.
“Coquelin allowed Arsene to go for someone he really wants, or if Coquelin does the job really well, he can stay.”
Hopefully this show of faith by Wenger will convince Coquelin to pen a new deal, as he has clearly matured into the kind of player we need right now.