Date: 23rd February 2018 at 1:19am

Francis Coquelin says he needed to leave Arsenal this year and the midfielder has explained why.

The defensive midfielder left the club in a £12m deal to Valencia last month and penned a four-and-a-half year contract. He’s made four starts for Valencia who sit 3rd in La Liga

Following his transfer, that includes a huge €80m release clause, Coquelin believes he had to move on last month as he needed a new challenge in his career.

“It isn’t that easy when you’ve spent 10 years somewhere, but I needed a new challenge,” the midfielder told Spanish outlet Clicanoo.

“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.

 Wilshere and Coqelin converse during Arsenal’s trip to Crystal Palace

“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.

Coquelin made his big break into the Arsenal team in surprising circumstances. A depleted midfield forced Arsene Wenger to recall the midfielder from a loan spell at Charlton in 2015.

Coquelin made an instant impact and quickly established himself as a regular in the Gunners side. However, injuries and inconsistent form followed and the Frenchman lost his place to Granit Xhaka last season.


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