Arsenal Transfer News: Francis Coquelin Loan Is Smart Move for All Parties

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20:  Francis Coquelin of Arsenal challenges Oscar of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on January 20, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

It was time for Francis Coquelin to go out on loan. Over the past two seasons, he's made just 24 starts for the Gunners, finding it hard to break through a crowded crop of midfielders. 

And with Arsenal surely looking to add a premier holding midfielder this summer, the logjam would have gotten even more difficult to break through. 

For that reason, it made perfect sense for the club to send him on a season-long loan with SC Freiburg. From Arsenal's official website:

Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin will be spending the 2013/14 season on loan with Bundesliga side SC Freiburg.

The 22-year-old has featured 43 times for Arsenal since joining the Club as a 17-year-old in 2008.

There isn't a loser in this deal. Coquelin will get the opportunity to play Bundesliga football and gain more experience, as he did when he was loaned out to Lorient in the 2010-11 season, appearing in 24 games for the French side. 

SC Freiburg gets a player versatile enough to play multiple positions, as he was utilized on occasion at both full-back positions along with playing his preferred defensive midfielder role. 

And Arsenal can relieve itself of his wages while knowing he'll be gaining experience, with an eye on returning to Arsenal and perhaps earning a starting gig in the future. 

Honestly, Coquelin was going to find breaking into Arsenal's midfield quite difficult this season. The return of Jack Wilshere from injury means one more spot will be unavailable, while Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey both played admirably in deeper positions last year and Santi Cazorla was a revelation in the central attacking role behind the striker. 

While Cazorla may well be relegated to the left wing this season to make way for Wilshere to play further up the pitch, it's highly unlikely Coquelin would have unseated any of those players (or any signings Arsene Wenger brought on to fill the holding role). 

Coquelin has very good pace for a defensive midfielder, and his engine is never in question. He works for the full 90 and will make driving runs up the pitch as a box-to-box midfielder if asked to do so, or will remain more defensively rooted if called upon to fill that role. 

He is a strong tackler and will win the ball back, but he can also facilitate for his teammates and is a technically sound player for one that often is asked to play a primarily defensive role. 

His tactical and positional awareness is not yet a strength, but the hope will obviously be that a full slate of Bundesliga games will see Coquelin make strides in those areas. 

It's a win-win for all sides. 


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