ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed Francis Coquelin has been offered a new contract and is confident the France midfielder will commit his long-term future to the club.
The 23-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Freiburg, appeared to be heading for the Emirates Stadium exit door when he was sent to Championship side Charlton in November.
Injuries to Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta meant Wenger had little option but to recall the combative midfielder, who has since excelled in the defensive midfield role his manager has struggled to fill in recent times.
Coquelin’s current deal is set to expire in the summer but he is set to be rewarded with a new offer following a series of excellent displays, most recently in Arsenal’s 2-0 win at Premier League champions Manchester City last Sunday.
“I saw that [Coquelin] made huge improvements in training so I sent him on loan for match practice,” said Wenger.
“He took that challenge and he’s done very well. We will offer him a new deal We are confident it will be done soon.”
Coquelin’s defensive diligence has allowed the more creative members of Wenger’s team to thrive in recent weeks, with Santi Cazorla the chief beneficiary.
The Spain international has been in spellbinding form and was singled out for special praise by his manager ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Brighton.
Wenger said: “He’s very talented. He’s added another dimension to his game since he’s played centrally.
“In the recent games he’s been in the best form of his career. He’s a perfect example.”
Cazorla may well be granted a rest this weekend with Wenger confirming Mesut Ozil will start his first game since October following a long-term knee injury, while there are also fitness doubts over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Hector Bellerin.