Arsene Wenger has revealed that he believes in Francis Coquelin, but insisted that his plans for the summer have not been massively altered, with the Gunners still looking to move for a defensive midfielder to shore up their midfield.
The 23-year-old was brought to the Emirates after cancelling his loan spell at Charlton following an injury crisis in the midfield for the Gunners and has not put a foot wrong all season. His brilliance has helped the Gunners forge a 10-game unbeaten run, before falling to Swansea and being held by Manchester United at the Emirates.
His performance and considering Wenger's propensity to look for value in his deals, it was expected that he would give up the idea of spending on a midfielder and allow Coquelin to have an uninterrupted spell with the north London club.
The manager has however come out in defence of Coquelin but insisted that he will still move to the market to bring in a player who can improve the Gunners from the base of midfield.
When asked about his transfer plans, Wenger said, "It hasn't changed a lot. What is for sure is Coquelin has shown he has the capacity to play for us and play a big part in the success of the team. I think nobody would dispute that his performances have been convincing and that he is ready for a fight – even if somebody comes in. Even if somebody else comes in, he will stay here. I extended his contract [in February]. That means I believe in him."
Wenger also stressed that people would appreciate Coquelin more if he had cost £40m ($61.8m) and not someone who came out of Arsenal's youth ranks.
"The world has changed. The appreciation today of the quality of a player is just down to the money you spend. If we had bought Coquelin at Christmas for £40m, everyone would say, 'What a signing.' I am sorry he didn't cost any money. He is still a good player," he concluded.