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Schalke Set to Sign Arsenal Utility Man Francis Coquelin

Young Gunners close to Bundesliga switch.

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Young Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin could leave the club this summer after reportedly being close to a move to Bundesliga side Schalke, according to Footmercato.

The original source is French magazine L’Equipe, who claim that Coquelin is keen to leave the Emirates Stadium for more first-team football, after making a total of just 38 appearances in the last two seasons.

The 22-year-old is highly rated by Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who brought him to the club as a 16-year-old in 2008, but he faces a lot of competition ahead of him in the team’s midfield.

The French midfielder spent the 2010/11 season out on loan at Ligue 1 club Lorient, and was reportedly close to sealing another loan move in January, after being linked with La Liga side Real Betis.

Coquelin has previously been quoted as saying that he feels this was an important season for him, and he is deserving of more regular first team action.

“In July I met the coach and he told me I am a full member of the team and he relies on me,” he said. “Looking at who we have signed, that have trust in me.

“Alex Song left for Barcelona and they didn’t [sign] another defensive midfielder.

“When I didn’t play in the first three matches it made me think about it. But I know I will get an opportunity and I will seize it.

“Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla are great players who have more experience than me. But during training sessions every morning I am not behind them.

“I have given myself six months and then I will take stock. If I see it is blocked, I will go somewhere else. But for now I know I have the qualities to make a name for myself at Arsenal.”

If he moves to Schalke he could find himself working under interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez, who is also being targeted by the German club for next season.