Charlton Athletic skipper Johnnie Jackson believes Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin is the man to solve the club’s midfield problem, The Sun report.
Many observers over the past few years have lamented the Gunners’ midfield situation, commenting on the lack of an enforcer in front of the back four who can press out of possession.
The general consensus suggests that without a Nemanja Matic-type player in their ranks, Wenger’s men are destined to continuously fall behind the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Such players certainly don’t come cheap, either through wages or potential big-money transfer fees, as Real Madrid duo Sami Khedira and Aiser Illarramendi have proved.
But is the answer to their problem already a member of their squad at Emirates Stadium?
Charlton skipper and Arsenal fan Johnnie Jackson believes so as he points to former teammate Coquelin and highlights his world-class performance in the 2-0 win at Manchester City.
“Against City, he was the best player on the pitch - and you have to be special to be that with the amount of world-class talent in both squads. He has certainly got that ability,” Jackson explained.
“While he was with us, I was thinking, ‘you can do just as good a job, if not better, than Mathieu Flamini for the team’. So I was surprised Wenger overlooked him originally.
“But it now seems Wenger realises Francis is more beneficial for the team and brings more to the side than Flamini. He does that disciplined role in front of the back four brilliantly - which is what Arsenal have been crying out for.
“I’ll be surprised if Arsenal sign someone for that role now they’ve seen Francis can do it. He will almost certainly get the chance until the end of the season to show he is the long-term option and can save Wenger £30m in the transfer market.”
The 23-year-old followed up his impressive display at the Etihad Stadium with another fine performance in the 5-0 thrashing of Premier League strugglers Aston Villa.
However, Coquelin isn’t without his doubters as outspoken pundit Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports that the North Londoners still have to address the position in the summer.