Francis Coquelin has opened up about why he felt the need to leave Arsenal after a decade of service, and move to Valencia.
The French man joined one of La Liga's most well known clubs in the January transfer window as he decided to sever ties with the Premier League club he had spent his whole career playing for.
In an interview with Spanish news outlet Clicanoo, Coquelin revealed that it had been time to call it a day at the Emirates Stadium, as he explained that he needed a 'new challenge' to reinvigorate his playing career.
Reckon that Coquelin has been among best three Valencia players every game since he signed. Sometimes the best.— David Cartlidge (@davidjaca) February 17, 2018
He admitted: "It isn’t that easy when you’ve spent 10 years somewhere, but I needed a new challenge. You tend to get into a comfort zone when you stay several years in the same clubs.
"You try and challenge yourself, but it’s a bit harder. Here, I’m starting from scratch.
"It’s a new experience, a new training method, new teammates and a new environment. All that means I was thrilled by the project. There’s interesting goals to accomplish. I’m focused on that."
After 160 appearances without a goal for Arsenal, Francis Coquelin scored his first goal for Valencia in just his seventh appearance for the club. pic.twitter.com/CUtEvzl6mv— ArsenalFanTV (@ArsenalFanTV) 18 February 2018
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Coquelin featured 160 times for the Gunners after he made his senior bow for them in August 2011 against Manchester United.
The 26-year-old rose through the youth ranks in north London and was brought into the first-team set up by veteran boss Arsene Wenger.
Coquelin added that he owed Wenger a debt of gratitude for allowing him to begin his senior career with Arsenal and revealed that he would always have a 'lot of time' for the 67-year-old due to his faith in the midfielder.
He said: "He’s someone I have a lot of respect for. If I’m here in my career, it’s because of him. We left on good terms. I wish him the best, and I hope Arsenal will finish the season well. Like us."
Coquelin joined the Mestalla based side for £12.5m last month and has made seven appearances in all competitions, scoring once.