Valencia have confirmed the signing of midfielder Francis Coquelin from Arsenal on a four-and-a-half year deal with a £71.2m release clause in his contract.

Sky sources understand the Spanish side have paid the Gunners £12m for the Frenchman after he rejected interest from Premier League clubs West Ham United and Crystal Palace.

The 26-year-old – who only signed a new contract at Arsenal a year ago – joins Valencia with the club third in La Liga, 11 points behind leaders Barcelona as they look to bring Champions League football back to the Mestalla.

Coquelin spoke to former Arsenal team-mates Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin and Santi Cazorla about the move.

“They all said that Valencia is a great city and a big club, so I am very happy to be here,” he told the club’s official website.

“I have seen the team, they are going along very well, they are third in the table. I have watched their recent games, since I knew that the negotiations between the two clubs were picking up, such as the Copa del Rey game versus Las Palmas. They were very good.

“I believe that the players are doing a great job. Obviously, I am here to help the team and to help them hit their targets.”

The move brings Coquelin’s 10-year association with Arsenal to an end having been limited to just seven starts in all competitions this season.

The midfielder made his debut for Arsenal in 2008 having signed from French club Stade Lavallois that summer.

Loan spells at Lorient, Freiburg and Charlton followed before Coquelin broke into the Arsenal first team on a regular basis in the 2014-15 season.

Coquelin won two FA Cups with the club – appearing in the 2015 and 2017 finals – but the re-emergence of Jack Wilshere as well as competition from Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny has forced Coquelin to seek a move abroad.

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