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Francis Coquelin: “The training is intense, I have really enjoyed it.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview with L’Équipe, French defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin discussed his move from Arsenal to Valencia.

Why did you decide to leave Arsenal to join Valencia?

I am at an important stage in my career. I had little game time with Arsenal. And I wanted to see and experience something else. I chose a club with a strong history, and that is welcoming. And right away, I felt great here.

Your status at Arsenal was not to your liking?

It’s not that. I spent amazing years at Arsenal. It’s the club that gave me my chance, I will never forget that. It is difficult to leave. Yes, I was playing matches, but not necessarily the most important ones… I still need to grow. 

Did Arsène Wenger try to keep you?

We had a very healthy discussion together. He is someone who I respect immensely. I told him what I thought, he told me what he thought, and he understood. The only thing was that I didn’t want to go on loan. I really wanted to start something new. This was perfect.

Do you have the feeling that you have unfinished business with Arsenal?

Honestly no. In 2014, when I was coming to the end of my contract, I would have if I had left. Things started to click at the point in time, and we won many games. We won a cup, finished in the top four on multiple occasions. I can’t be disappointed about that.

What was said for you to join Arsenal?

Well, first and foremost, I had great feedback from Santi Cazorla on the coach, Marcelino. After training, the coach told me about his great ambitions: to build a great European team. And he also told me about the family-like atmosphere at the club. I am arriving with no particular status. I know Geoffrey Kondogbia and Dani Parejo are two high level players there. It is up to me to get to that level.

What do you know about Spain?

Currently, I can’t tell you that much about the game there. I’ve watched games but it isn’t enough to come to a definitive opinion. What I can tell you so far, is that training is intense and that I have really enjoyed it. With very high level players.

 

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