Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed he wants Francis Coquelin "to have a future" at the Emirates Stadium, just some days after admitting he is looking to add a central midfielder during the January transfer window.
After the injuries of Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, Wenger revealed last week that he is looking to strengthen the midfield in January by saying: "There is a need there but the right opportunity has to come up. To buy [just] to buy is not what we want to do, but if the right opportunity comes up, we will do it."
However, the French boss has now suggested that the arrival of a new midfielder will not mean the departure of Coquelin.
Even though the midfielder had struggled to make the impact expected at the Gunner since his arrival from Stade Lavallois in 2008, Wenger was force to recall him from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic earlier this month in an attempt to address the injury crisis in the middle of the park.
Coquelin was expected to be just a backup, but he has eventually featured in the last five games since his return, starting both during the victory over West Ham and the defeat to Southampton.
"I want him to have a future here," Wenger said, according to Arsenal's official website.
"It's always very difficult, because you want to have a big squad. But when you have a big squad, it means that many players are not playing and all the players who are not playing are impatient, frustrated and want to play."
This way Wenger may give him a new starting chance in the FA Cup third round against Hull City on Sunday.
"He is one of the players who has gone through difficult times, but he kept his focus, worked very hard and I hope he will be rewarded for that."