On his duties in the team:
If I can take away 10% of [Sanchez's and Cazorla's] defensive duties then they can have 10% more to attack and score goals and win us the game and I’m delighted.
On not aiming for fame:
I remember Zidane and a lot of great players saying when you took out Makelele you took out the heart of their team. I think players who play this position don’t want the spotlight. They like to do their job and then they leave the bling-bling for other players.
On his trial with Arsenal:
I never trained with the first team in Laval. I saw Gallas, Bac Sagna, Clichy, from the French national team, and I was thinking: ‘What am I doing here?’.
About the Lehmann incident (Coquelin cleared a ball that Lehmann had claimed):
He went absolutely crazy on me! I didn’t know what was happening.
On Emmanuel Eboué and Cesc Fàbregas having a fight because one kicked the other:
I was thinking: ‘Is every training like this? It’s war in here!'
On Wenger calling him to invite him to join Arsenal:
I had missed a week of school and everyone was asking how it was at Arsenal. I was in my class and my phone rang and I looked at it. It was some weird number +44. I couldn’t answer the phone so they left a voicemail. It was the boss. In France he used to do the commentating on TV so obviously everyone knows his voice. I was listening: ‘Hello, Francis, how are you?’
On playing in the 8-2 humiliation against Man Utd:
The team was not ready for a game like that. It was basically the reserves playing. To be honest they could shoot from anywhere that game, it was going top corner. It was one of those games you want to forget.
On his loan at Freiburg:
Very tough. I didn’t get on with the manager, I was played out of position all season, left wing or right wing. I went many times to his office and said: ‘You know what? I am not asking a lot, I am just asking give me one game in the middle of the park, so you can see what I can do. Then if you are not happy with me, play someone else in that position.’ He never gave me that opportunity.
We played friendly games and I was always a sub. The last game of the friendlies they were losing 5-0 at half-time against a German second division club. I came on, we scored, and lost 5-1. We had a meeting after, the whole group, and he didn’t say a word about the team who were losing 5-0, it was all about me. I went to see him and asked to go back to Arsenal. He said: ‘No, we are counting on you.’ Then I played zero games.
On challenging for the title next season:
After what we’ve done in 2015 we will be aiming, next season, to fight for the title. I think there was a point where big players were leaving the club and it didn’t look attractive to the top players.
And then I think signing Santi was the first step. I remember his first training session. Everyone knew: this one is from another planet. If you’re someone who doesn’t love football, you will love it after looking at him. And Mesut was a turning point. The very top players want to come to Arsenal because they can see the team is strong.