We told you last week that Villarreal was pursuing Francis Coquelin. This week, potential sale prices for that transfer have started to emerge, with multiple outlets reporting a price of 15m for the defensive midfielder. At that kind of number, it seems like the club may be making a choice between Coquelin and Zambo Anguissa.
Noticia @valenciacf— DeportesCOPEValencia (@DepCOPEValencia) August 3, 2020
Cuenta @juanigual en @DepCOPEValencia que el @VillarrealCF está dispuesto a poner encima de la mesa 15M por @FCoquelin_off
Semana clave en la negociación por el jugador francés pic.twitter.com/Fx6R8Y4HNX
There is an element of this move that would be somewhat gratifying, as it has led to things like Valencia supporter Toni Hernandez, writing on Deporte Valenciano, saying:
The option has generated a wave of outrage in much of the Valencian environment, which does not see favorably that the player leaves the squad, much less to a team that has to be our direct rival in the fight for one of the Champions League places...
It is also true that reinforcing a direct rival has always seemed to me an inferiority complex.
Outrage at Valencia, an inferiority complex at Valencia, these are things I can get behind, but ultimately this just isn’t the right player for us right now. Coquelin is not a replacement for Zambo, they are completely different style players. I had hoped to see Zambo unleashed above a defensive mid this season where he could range forward as he often did in our 442 after the break. With the right style DM behind him, he could do the same thing in a 433 system alongside another 8 or even to some degree in a 4231 underneath a 10.
We still have to wait to see if Fulham wins the promotion playoff final tomorrow against Brentford. That result will have a direct impact on our negotiations for Zambo. If the club can somehow swing him and Coquelin this window I would feel a lot better at the signing of the latter but Coquelin by himself isn’t much of a prize.
For what it’s worth, Transfermarkt, which is usually pretty good at valuing players, rates Coquelin as being worth 14m, so this wouldn’t necessarily be an overpay, but with deep needs at CB and rumors flying in attacking midfielder/winger regions of the pitch, 15m is a lot of money to spend on a DM that probably isn’t even a starter.
It’s possible that Emery sees Coquelin/Iborra as a double pivot possibility in a 4231, but if he does I think that ultimately means needing even more defensive mids. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, but so far I am not loving this deal.