Francis Coquelin proves that Arsenal can find top quality players without having to spend huge sums of money, according to Arsene Wenger.
Since being recalled from his loan at Chartlon, the 24-year-old has been a revelation for the Gunners, making 21 Premier League appearances and impressively filling the void at the base of the midfield.
Coquelin’s remarkable breakthrough has quietened the calls for Wenger to add a more tenacious edge to his midfield this summer just as he is looking to turn a talented squad into genuine title contenders.
Southampton have put a €35 million asking price on talismanic midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, but Wenger insists the success of Coquelin is evidence that large transfer deals are not the only way to improve a team.
“I think nobody would dispute that his performances have been convincing and that he is ready for a fight even if somebody comes in,” the Gunners boss said of Coquelin.
“Even if somebody comes in, he will stay here. I extended his contract, that means I believe in him.
“It hasn’t changed my mind about transfers a lot, but what is for sure is that he has shown he has the capacity to play for us and play a big part in the success of the team.
“The world has changed. The appreciation today of the quality of a player is just down with the money you spend. If we had bought Coquelin at Christmas for £40 million (€55m), everyone would say ‘what a signing’.
“I am sorry he didn’t cost any money, but he is still a good player.”
Wenger is also adamant that the domestic core of his squad remains as important as ever, despite not fielding a single Englishman in his starting XI for six successive Premier League games.
“They have been injured,” he added. “Walcott has been out for a year. Wilshere has been out since November. Kieran Gibbs is now coming back. It’s true, they had little setbacks.
“I know our future is only bright if I can keep a cohesion, and a core of players who have been educated here and can play year-in year-out together.
“That is the difficulty in the modern job, you know the cohesion is a very important part of the success of the team, but you are always under pressure to get players in. We live in a new world, people always want new.”