Francis Coquelin has said he has a sense of regret at not having left Arsenal last summer.
The French midfielder joined Valencia on Thursday on a four-and-a-half year contract.
It followed a frustrating season at the Emirates in which he made just seven starts in all competitions.
Speaking after his 10-year association with the Gunners was ended, Coquelin admitted perhaps he should have gone sooner.
‘It’s true that there was interest in the summer but in my head I wanted to continue at Arsenal and do well there,’ he said.
‘It wasn’t to be and now this opportunity has come up.
‘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.’
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Coquelin, who is understood to have moved for a fee of around £12million, only signed a new contract with Arsenal a year ago.
He has a £71.2m release clause in his Valencia contract.