Coquelin had made the holding midfield position his own at Emirates Stadium before suffering a knee injury back in October.
The French midfielder is now closing in on a return to action and could feature for the north London side when they host Leicester City at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
And former Arsenal star Gilberto is backing Coquelin to continue to improve for the north London side in the seasons to come.
Speaking exclusively to 888sport, Gilberto said: “He [Coquelin] is improving game by game and from last season to this one he is much better.
“He is getting to know his position well and that’s important because his role is to allow those up front to play while protecting the back four. He will be very important for Arsenal in the final third of the season.
“He is a young player and what he’s done for Arsenal in the short time he’s been playing has been great.
“When I was at Arsenal I was older, with more experience and big guys around me.
“He is proving himself over and over and I hope he is at Arsenal for a long period because for any team to have a player who is willing to do the hard job then it makes it harder for the opposition to pass through your defence.”
Arsenal head into Sunday’s crunch clash with Leicester City in third place in the table and five points behind the Foxes.
The Gunners, who won the FA Cup last season and finished third in the league, have not lifted the top flight trophy since 2004.
Read the full 888sport interview with Gilberto Silva here, including how he thinks Francis Coquelin’s return will boost Arsenal to the title.
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