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Arsene Wenger confirms Francis Coquelin's move to Valencia

A couple of controversial decisions dominated the storylines in the first-leg, semifinal draw between Chelsea and Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger confirms Francis Coquelin will move to Valencia and also reveals how he plans to replace the midfielder.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin will join Valencia in a permanent deal.

Sources had told ESPN FC earlier on Wednesday that the two clubs were close to an agreement on Coquelin, and Wenger confirmed the transfer after the 0-0 draw at Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semifinals.

"Yes. He goes to Valencia, he didn't get enough games," Wenger said. "I let him go."

The Arsenal boss indicated, however, that he has no immediate plans to replace Coquelin with another holding midfielder in the January transfer window.

"The best way to replace him is getting [Aaron] Ramsey and [Mesut] Ozil back," he said. "Then we'll see. We have players injured."

Wenger also said he has changed his mind about sending new signing Konstantinos Mavropanos out on loan to Germany to get more experience.

The 20-year-old greek centre-back was on the bench at Stamford Bridge, despite having less than a week of training with his new club.

"I want to keep him until May," Wenger said. "The first signs he showed me were so encouraging."

The deal for Coquelin, who spent nearly a decade at Arsenal after joining the academy at 17, is reportedly worth about £12 million.

Earlier on Wednesday, Valencia gave an indication that a signing was imminent when they tweeted a photograph of a suitcase with the club logo and the message: ¨We have a new one ready!!"

The French holding midfielder has only started one Premier League game this season, with Granit Xhaka preferred instead.

Coquelin had his major breakthrough in 2015 after being recalled from a loan spell at Charlton as injury cover and was a regular starter until Xhaka's arrival in the summer of 2016.

He has played 159 games for Arsenal, but never scored a goal.

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.

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