Francis Coquelin contract: Midfielder earns new deal while Arsene Wenger defends Jack Wilshere

Teenager striker Chuba Akpom has also signed a new contract

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Arsenal have confirmed that Francis Coquelin had signed a new contract at the club, as Arsène Wenger insisted that Jack Wilshere was a good professional despite his latest smoking incident.

Coquelin has been one of the surprise stars of this season, making the holding midfield position his own in recent weeks despite spending the first half of the campaign on loan at Charlton Athletic. His contract was due to expire this summer but yesterday the club confirmed that he had signed an extension.

Coquelin has been in and out of the Arsenal team for a few years, as well as on loan at home and abroad, and was delighted to secure his future.

“This is what is magic about football: one day you are unknown and the next day you are a bit bigger,” Coquelin told “I’m really pleased, I’ve been here since 2008 so it feels like a second home for me.”

Teenager striker Chuba Akpom has also signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract, warding off interest from Borussia Dortmund, Feyenoord and FC Twente.  Akpom has impressed on substitute appearances against Brighton and Aston Villa recently and received assurances from the club that he was part of their long-term thinking.

Arsene Wenger (right) speaks with Jack Wilshere

Wenger confirmed that Coquelin and Akpom had signed new deals at his press conference yesterday and said he was “very happy” about them.

Wenger also confirmed Wilshere had apologised after the injured midfielder was photographed on Sunday with a shisha pipe in a nightclub.  While Arsenal have taken a dim view of the matter –  both Wenger and Steve Bould have reminded him of his responsibilities – Wenger publicly defended him  yesterday.

“I’ve spoken with him about that [smoking] and he’s not a smoker,” said Wenger. “He is of course sorry for what has happened.”

Chuba Akpom has also signed a new deal

Wilshere has been photographed smoking cigarettes twice before and Wenger said the 23-year-old was free to make his own decisions in his own time, even if he did not approve.  “It’s down to him to master his life,” Wenger said. “He had the day off the next day and he went out to watch the Super Bowl.”


Wilshere is back in full training next week after ankle surgery, ahead of schedule, and Wenger defended his professionalism.  “I observe him and he behaves in a very professional way, I must say,” Wenger said. “Every morning he’s certainly one of the first in and every afternoon certainly the last out.”

Meanwhile, Wenger had high praise for Theo Walcott, and claimed that the forward was one of the best in the world in his runs off the ball.  “Theo’s first quality is the quality of his reception,” Wenger said. “His timing and his movement, and the area he gets the ball, is absolutely exceptional – one of the best in the world.  He is not completely there yet, it is normal because he’s been out for a year. But you can see, week after week, he gets better.”