Francis Coquelin says that he “almost regrets” not taking the chance to leave Arsenal sooner after completing a move to La Liga side Valencia on Thursday.

The French midfielder joined Arsenal in 2008 and came through the system to become a regular for the Gunners, making over 20 appearances in the league in three consecutive seasons.

His displays during the 2016/17 season drew interest over the summer, but the 26-year-old wanted to stay and fight for his place under Arsene Wenger.

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Ultimately, the decision didn’t work out, as the midfielder made just one start in the Premier League and racked up just 155 minutes of action in the top flight.

Coquelin completed a move away from the Gunners on Thursday and admitted during a press conference that it might have been the wrong decision to stay with Arsenal at the start of the season.

“I almost regret not having come before. I think it’s an excellent opportunity for me and I’m very grateful. It’s a big challenge, and a new start in my life for me, which I’m very excited about.”