“Francis Coquelin has agreed to join La Liga side Valencia,” a statement on Arsenal’s website read on Thursday.
“We wish Francis well at Valencia and thank him for his contribution to the club. The transfer is for an undisclosed fee and is subject to the completion of regulatory processes”, the club added.
A product of the Arsenal Academy, Coquelin had spent over a decade in North London, initially spending a few loan spells at sides like Lorient, Frieburg and Charlton Athletic before getting recalled in the 2013-14 season.
For each of the past three season, Coquelin had played in 30 plus games for the GUnners, but found playing time hard to come by this season, with Granit Xhaka being preferred in the defensive midfield role to him.
Mohamed Elneny’s arrival had effectively made him third in the pecking order at the Emirates and Arsene Wenger had stated the 26-year-old Coquelin was on his way out earlier in the week. London rivals West Ham United were said to have been interested but the Frenchman was reportedly keen on a move abroad and Valencia swooped in to sign him on a four-and-a-half-year contract.
Capped at various youth levels for France (U-17 to U-21), Coquelin has never played for the senior Les Blues side.
Valencia have been enjoying a resurgence of sorts, in third place in the La Liga standings, five points ahead of fourth-ranked Real Madrid (who have played a game less).
Los Che are expected to compete in the UEFA Champions League this season and Coquelin’s arrival will bolster their midfield for the Frenchman adds some steel in the middle of the park.