Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted there is a chance of defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin departing the Emirates Stadium in the winter transfer window.
“It’s a possibility but nothing is decided,” Wenger responded at his press conference ahead of the Carabao Cup clash with Chelsea when asked whether the 26-year-old was on his way out of the North London club.
Coquelin, a product of the Arsenal Academy, has made just 13 appearances this season for the Gunners.
Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey, when fit, have been preferred in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield, while Jack Wilshere’s resurgence has further scuppered Coquelin’s first-team chances. He’s primarily been used in the UEFA Europa Leauge and the Carabao Cup, where Wenger has fielded teams that have been made up of a mix of fringe players and youth prospects.
London rivals West Ham United have been reportedly chasing the hardworking midfielder but Wenger poured cold water on the rumours as he stated: “We have no contact with West Ham”.
The combative 26-year-old has been at the club since 2008, but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot, and has gone on loan to three clubs during that period in a bid to get some minutes under his belt.
Known for his tenacity in the tackle, Coquelin’s technical qualities have often been found lacking and despite signing a long-term contract in January 2017, it seems his time in North London is coming to an end.
Wenger, who has repeatedly insisted that the summer transfer window should shut before the season starts, slammed the winter transfer window as he added, “The transfer window should be banned to keep our life a bit more focused on football”.
Arsenal make the short trip to Stamford Bridge to take on arch-rivals Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.