Francis Coquelin claims he should have left Arsenal before

Francis Coquelin admits he should have left Arsenal for Valencia six months ago after finally signing: ‘I almost regret not having come before‘

Francis Coquelin is excited by the new challenge that awaits him at Valencia – but admits it is one he probably should have taken up six months ago.

The 26-year-old Frenchman was unveiled by Valencia on Thursday afternoon after completing his move from Arsenal for a reported £12million.

Coquelin, who has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with the high-flyers, revealed at his presentation that Los Che were interested in him last summer but he opted to stay with .

Having made just seven Premier League starts for Arsene Wenger‘s side this term, it is a decision Coquelin admits might not have been the right one.

He told a press conference as reported by the Spanish media: ‘It‘s true that there was interest in the summer but in my head I wanted to continue at Arsenal and do well there. 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 arrived at Arsenal from French side Laval in 2008 and went on to make 160 first-team appearances for the Premier League club.

The combative midfielder spent several loan spells away from the Gunners before establishing himself as an integral part of a side which won the FA Cup in both 2015 and 2017.

The former France Under-21 international, who has yet to make a senior appearance for his country, says he spoke to several of his Arsenal colleagues – including Spain international Santi Cazorla – before committing to a move to LaLiga.

He said: ‘He (Cazorla) told me it‘s an excellent club which I will not regret joining. I respect Cazorla‘s opinion a lot, so when he told me this, he convinced me. I trust what he tells me.‘

Valencia travel to Deportivo La Coruna in LaLiga on Saturday, with Coquelin saying: ‘Of course I‘m ready to play, I‘m here to help the team.‘

He added: ‘I‘ve seen the team, they are doing very well, third in the table. I think the players are doing a great job.‘