Francis Coquelin to be handed new contract by Arsenal, with midfielder a free agent in the summer

Midfielder to be rewarded for recent displays

Francis Coquelin
Francis Coquelin

Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin, a free agent in the summer, will be offered a deal by the club after his impact following his return last month from a loan spell in the Championship at Charlton Athletic.

The Frenchman, 23, would be able to negotiate with clubs outside the Premier League this month given his impending free-agent status but Arsenal are determined to keep him.

He was particularly impressive in the 2-0 win away at Manchester City on Sunday, his eighth appearance for Arsenal since he returned from Charlton.

He spent last season on loan in the Bundesliga with Freiburg and prior to last month his previous appearance for Arsenal had come in April 2013 against West Bromwich Albion.

His change in physique over the intervening time has been notable and his manager, Arsène Wenger, was again full of praise for the player on Sunday. Coquelin was loaned by Arsenal to Lorient for the 2010-11 season.

Wenger said: “I took him at the age of 16 from France. He has gone through some difficult periods but he has learnt from his experiences.

“I always kept faith in him and told him three months ago he needed to play. He accepted going to Charlton, he came back and has done very well.”

Coquelin came through the youth ranks at Arsenal as a central midfielder, but made his first-team debut as a right-back in an FA Cup tie at Stoke in January 2009.

Wenger thought the player had more of a future in defence than midfield, but it was his loan spell at Lorient that convinced the manager of Coquelin’s value in the centre of the pitch.

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