Along with the way that the Chile international striker Alexis Sanchez came to Arsenal and had an instant impact, showing none of the time needed to adjust to the Premier League that we have seen so often, the way that Francis Coquelin has grabbed his chance to impress in the first team has been one of the big stories of the season so far for Arsenal.
Not many of us really expected it, that is for sure. Even the fans that thought there was still a future for the Frenchman probably saw it as more of a utility player with the versatility to fill in at right back and midfield without really securing a position in the regular starting line-up.
Instead, the 23-year old has got people talking about him in the same breath as the Chelsea star Nemanja Matic and suggesting that Arsene Wenger may finally have found a proper replacement for Patrick Vieira and Gilberto. So how has it all changed so quickly for Coquelin?
He told Arsenal Player, “[Going out on loan] has been really important for me. I have been out a few times in France, in Germany and in England.
“The period in Germany helped me a lot, it was a tough, tough experience mentally and that was a turning point in my career. I’m happy I went there and learned a lot.
“It has been a few exciting months for me [recently]. I have come back from Charlton, gone into the team as a sub and now I’m in the starting XI, so I am really pleased with things at the minute.
“[January] was a big part of my career. It was the first time I played so many games in a row so I could show game by game what I could do. It was a big month for me with the wins we got and everything was positive.”
So although the brief spell with Charlton this season was important in that it gave Coquelin the match fitness he needed to come straight into the Arsenal side, it seems that his tough experience in Germany, where he was often played out of position and heavily criticised by the German media seems to have been the real catalyst. And the injury problems the Gunners suffered in midfield then gave the youngster his chance to prove himself.
Perhaps he could see his football career at the top level slipping away but instead of beating him down the experience has forged him into a better and stronger character and the Gunners are certainly seeing the benefits. So who should we send out on loan to Freiburg next?