- Arsene Wenger says Maitland-Niles will replace Francis Coquelin at Arsenal
- The midfielder is expected to join Valencia in the January transfer window
- Coquelin last played for the Arsenal on December 28 against Crystal Palace
Arsene Wenger has confirmed Francis Coquelin's move to Valencia and has also revealed how he intends to replace the defensive midfielder.
Valencia’s social media page posted a picture of a suitcase with Coquelin’s initials on it hours before Arsenal’s stalemate with Chelsea.
Asked after Arsenal's League Cup clash with Chelsea whether Coquelin was about to leave Arsenal, Wenger confirmed the move with a direct answer: "Yes."
He added at the post-match press conference: "He goes to Valencia, he didn’t get enough games. I let him go."
Wenger suggested rising star Ainsley Maitland-Niles will eventually help to fill the void left by Coquelin’s departure.
He added: “The best way to replace Coquelin is to get Aaron Ramsey Mesut Ozil back, that will help. After that we see.
“We have seen again that Maitland-Niles had an outstanding performance. He is a defensive midfielder, basically.
"What he is doing at the moment will help him develop as a player because he plays in a different position but at some stage I will play him in at defensive midfield.
“At the moment we have Monreal and Kolasinac injured and they will come back. So that is as well as opening for him in midfield.”
The French midfielder is expected to complete a £10million move to Valencia in the coming days.
The 26-year-old last played for the Arsenal on December 28 in the 3-2 win at Crystal Palace.
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