Former Arsenal star who won two FA Cup trophies with the Gunners left unemployed at 33 after shock release

FORMER Arsenal hero Francis Coquelin has been left unemployed at 33.

The defensive midfielder finds himself as a free agent after being released by Spanish club Villarreal.

GettyFrancis Coquelin has been released by Villarreal[/caption]

MATTHEW CHILDSThe star spent seven years on the books at Arsenal[/caption]

ARSENAL TRANSFER NEWS LIVE: All the latest deals and rumours from the Emirates

Coquelin has been let go by Villarreal alongside four other stars as the club look to restructure their squad ahead of next season.

Coquelin spent four years with the Spanish outfit making 107 appearances and scoring six goals.

He even helped the club lift the Europa League in 2021 after beating Manchester United on penalties after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.

The Frenchman is best known by English fans for his time at Arsenal having spent seven years with the club after graduating from the Gunners’ academy in 2011.


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Manchester City are ready to make Phil Foden the highest-paid British player in history when he returns from the Euros.

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Coquelin went on to play 160 times for the London club and was crucial to their success in lifting the FA Cup in both 2015 and 2017.

The star left the Emirates in 2018 to join Valencia where he stayed for two years before joining Villarreal in 2020.

Now he faces the task of finding himself a new club with plenty of time still left in his legs at the age of 33.

Coquelin isn’t the only former Premier League star to be cut from the Villarreal ranks either.

GettyCoquelin won the FA Cup twice with Arsenal[/caption]


Ex-Spurs and Watford midfielder Etienne Capoue, 35, has also been released by the La Liga club despite making 32 league appearances for the the Yellow Submarine last season.

While former Liverpool duo Pepe Reina, 41, and Alberto Moreno, 31, were also named on the released list by Villarreal.

Mikel Arteta’s striker shopping list

By Jordan Davies

ARSENAL are stepping up plans to sign a world-class striker in the summer after their Champions League heartbreak.

Mikel Arteta splashed out £204.5m last summer on Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber.

But the Spanish manager accepts he needs a proven goalscorer to take the club to the next level.

And here are the players he is looking at to get the Gunners firing:

BENJAMIN SESKO (RB Leipzig, value £40m-£45m)

One for the future at 20 years old. Scored 16 goals for RB Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga last season and the Slovenian has carried on that good form in Germany with Leipzig this campaign.

VIKTOR GYOKERES (Sporting Lisbon, value £60m-£80m)

Been scouted several times this season. The Swedish striker, 25, is more of a traditional No 9 so may not suit Arsenal’s demand for flexibility but would bring a physicality that boss Mikel Arteta craves.

ALEXANDER ISAK (Newcastle, value £75m-£85m)

Impressed in his first two seasons in English football. The Swede, 24, has the pace and finesse to match his finishing ability, and Eddie Howe’s Toon may need to sell to balance the books this summer.

JOSHUA ZIRKZEE (Bologna, value £45m-£50m)

Dutch wonder  is attracting the attentions of clubs across Europe. At 6ft 4in the 22-year-old forward would have no trouble adapting to the Premier League and already has an eye for goal.

XAVI SIMONS (RB Leipzig, value £70m-£80m)

An incredible talent in the Bukayo Saka mould, currently on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. The future of the Dutch attacker, 20, depends on how much money his parent club want to make from him.

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