Arsenal midfielder Coquelin will join Valencia

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez

So it is farewell to Francis Coquelin, who has been at Arsenal for nine years since being found by Gilles Grimandi as a 17 year-old in a small town in the west of France. The only thing is that I didn't want to leave on loan, but really to start a new cycle.

And, having passed a medical on Thursday, Coquelin has signed a contract with Valencia which will run until 2022.

Joining the Arsenal academy as a teenager in 2008, Coquelin progressed through the ranks and ended up making 160 senior appearances for the north London club.

"My first year was unbelievable, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2009, then coming back from my loan at Charlton I thought I wasn't going to play for Arsenal, but I am happy I had the chance to show what I can do". I was playing games, yes, but not necessarily those that counted. I would say that Arsenal raised me as a player, but also raised me as a man.

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After leaving Coquelin out of Arsenal's team for Wednesday's League Cup semi-final first leg draw at Chelsea, Wenger confirmed: "He goes to Valencia".

"I would have had that if in 2014, when I was at the end of my contract, I was gone". "There was a change at that moment, I played a lot of games".

Coquelin will now hope to earn himself a place in a Valencia team that - in third place, two points behind second-placed Atletico Madrid and five clear of faltering Real Madrid - have been impressing in the Spanish top flight this season.

"I'm coming in without any particular status. I think it's an excellent opportunity for me and I'm very grateful", he added. "I have to get myself up to that standard".

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