London Rivals Chase Arsenal Midfielder


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West Ham United and Crystal Palace are both interested in signing £10m-rated Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin reports the Daily Mirror.

Arsene Wenger omitted the 26-year-old Frenchman from his squad for yesterday’s FA Cup third round tie at Nottingham Forest, which ended in a humiliating 4 – 2 defeat for the Gunners.

The Gunners boss is determined that nothing will stand in the way of selling his compatriot this month and refused to allow Coquelin to become cup-tied.

West Ham manager David Moyes has made no secret of his desire to strengthen his midfield and with Hammers captain Mark Noble struggling with injuries, Coquelin is seen as an ideal replacement.

Since joining Arsenal in 2008 from Stade Lavallois, Coquelin has featured 159 times for the first team but is finding himself increasingly pushed to the sidelines. Having been capped at all junior levels by France, the midfielder hoped to be knocking on the senior team’s door by now but fears his career is in a slough which will mean that never happens.

A move away from the Emirates is the only way he sees his situation improving. It’s a cruel descent for a player labelled as a saviour in December 2014 when his loan spell at Charlton Athletic was cut short and he returned to Arsenal to cover for injuries.

In the following six months, he led the Premier League statistics for defensive midfielders and seemed on course to become a permanent feature of the Arsenal side. However, injuries and the arrival of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny curtailed his first-team appearances and the prospect of a move across London holds great appeal for the player.