Thierry Henry explains why Arsenal midfielder’s emergence is key
Thierry Henry takes a look at Francis Coquelin's impact at Arsenal
Thierry Henry believes Francis Coquelin’s recent emergence has allowed Arsene Wenger to be patient and wait until the summer to sign a defensive midfielder that he really wants.
The Gunners manager has been utilising 23-year-old Coquelin in a holding-midfield role over the past month amid the continued absence of established star Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere.
Coquelin allowed Arsene to go for someone he really wants, or if Coquelin does the job really well, he can stay
The France Under-21 international has been a key cog in the Arsenal side in recent weeks, helping the Gunners win five successive games in all competitions following their loss to Southampton on New Year’s Day.
Gunners legend Henry believes Arsenal boss Wenger may still look to sign a new midfielder in the summer transfer window, unless Coquelin makes the position his own over the next couple of months.
“For me the best thing they’ve done is bring Coquelin back from Charlton,” Henry told Sky Sports News HQ. “Maybe if he hadn’t come back and played the way he did recently, Arsene would have gone and bought a defensive midfielder.
“He has been amazing, Arsenal don’t look like they will concede, they can score and he gave everyone protection everybody was talking about.
“Sometimes you look for that player and they are right in front of you. But the guy has matured, he went on loan, and knows he had to perform and he is doing it.”
Henry added: “What Coquelin does is allow you to go for the player you want in the summer, because in January you go for the player that is available.
“Coquelin allowed Arsene to go for someone he really wants, or if Coquelin does the job really well, he can stay.”
Arsenal were impressive 5-0 winners against Aston Villa at The Emirates on Sunday, keeping the north London side a point behind third-placed Manchester United.