While the incomings at Arsenal received a lot of attention, there was an outgoing that went a bit under the radar, such was the anticipation to see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a Gunners shirt.
Francis Coquelin, after 10 years at the Emirates, decided it was time to try something else, and moved to Valencia in a deal worth around €12m, getting himself an €80m release clause in the process.
Signing a four and a half year deal with the La Liga side, the defensive midfielder has enjoyed a positive start to his Spanish career, even scoring his first goal in seven years at the weekend against Malaga.
With a lot of his family originating from La Réunion, the 26-year-old still has a lot of ties on the island, and he spoke to Clicanoo, a local media outlet, on Tuesday about his debuts at his new club, and what it was like leaving Arsenal.
He said: “It isn’t that easy when you’ve spent 10 years somewhere, but I needed a new challenged. You tend to get into a comfort zone when you stay several years in the same clubs. You try and challenge yourself, but it’s a bit harder. Here, I’m starting from scratch.
“It’s a new experience, a new training method, new teammates and a new environment. All that means I was thrilled by the project. There’s interesting goals to accomplish. I’m focused on that.”
What helped was the fact that he got Arsène Wenger’s approval for the move, as the pair ‘have always been truthful to each other’.
He continued: “He’s someone I have a lot of respect for. If I’m here in my career, it’s because of him. We left on good terms. I wish him the best, and I hope Arsenal will finish the season well. Like us”.