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Francis Coquelin feels he should have left Arsenal sooner

Francis Coquelin news

Coquelin grateful to have joined Valencia

French midfielder Francis Coquelin has admitted that he 'almost regrets' not leaving Arsenal during last summer's transfer window. The 26-year-old joined Valencia for an initial £12m fee earlier on Thursday.

Coquelin spent nearly a decade with the north London giants after having progressed through their youth system to become a valuable player in the first-team squad.

However, his gametime was limited this term with Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mohamed Elneny ahead of him in the pecking order, and this eventually urged him to pursue a fresh challenge.

Speaking in a press conference, the 26-year-old admits that he should have pursued the move much earlier as he had the opportunity to leave the Gunners in the summer.

"It's true that there was interest in the summer but in my head I wanted to continue at Arsenal and do well there," he said, via ESPN. "It wasn't to be and now this opportunity has come up. 

"I almost regret not having come before. I think it's an excellent opportunity for me and I'm very grateful. It's a big challenge, and a new start in my life for me, which I'm very excited about."

Coquelin, who managed over 100 top-flight appearances for Arsenal, will now ply his trade with Los Che, who are aiming to finish in the top-four of La Liga to assure themselves of Champions League football for next season.