The midfielder has come on leaps and bounds this season
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested keeping hold of Francis Coquelin will save him from spending £40 million on a potential replacement.
The holding midfielder has improved his performances significantly since a loan spell at Charlton Athletic earlier this campaign. The Frenchman is now a first team regular at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger has revealed that he still plans to spend money on transfer targets in the summer window, but is also adamant that keeping the core of his squad is just as important as new signings.
The Gunners will solidify third place in the Premier League with a home win over relegation threatened Sunderland. They also play in the FA Cup final against Aston Villa at Wembley in just 10 days.
And Wenger admits keeping the likes of Coquelin and the English players who’ve been injured this season will help them push for the Premier League title next season; just as much as any new signings would.
‘He didn’t cost any money, but he is still a good player’
When asked about Coquelin, the Arsenal boss said: “The appreciation today of the quality of a player is just down to the money spent. If we had bought Coquelin at Christmas for £40m, everyone would be saying, ‘what a signing’. He didn’t cost any money, but he is still a good player.”
He also added: “His emergence has not changed our thinking a lot but what is for sure he has shown he has the capacity to play a big part in the success of the team.”
He also believes the 24-year old will relish the competition.
Wenger said: “Nobody would dispute that his performances have been convincing and that he is ready for a fight even if somebody comes in. And even if somebody comes in, he will stay. I extended his contract so that means I believe in him.”
However, despite wanting to add extra quality in the summer, Wenger is ready to welcome back key English players Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott from injury.
He acknowledged: “Our young English players have been injured. Walcott has been out for a year. Wilshere out since November. Gibbs is now coming back, but has had a lot of problems. They have had setbacks.”
By Kieran Makin