Direction Differences Behind Laurent Koscielny’s Refusal to Attend Arsenal Tour
The Gunners confirmed this morning that Koscielny, the club’s captain, had refused to be a part of the tour – something that the club was not happy about.
In a statement on their website, they said: “Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour.
“We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions.
“We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”
According to Ornstein’s report for BBC Sport, something like this has potentially been brewing for a while.
Arsenal and Koscielny were reportedly in talks over a new deal towards the end of last season, most likely an extra year on top of what already remained. However, the tide turned after the Gunners’ humiliation in the Europa League final, where they lost 4-1 against Chelsea.
This loss seemed to change Koscielny’s mind, and Ornstein also reports that since the player’s return from injury in December he has been increasingly unhappy with his playing schedule and the direction that the club appears to be going in.
The Europa League final loss, therefore, fuelled the Frenchman’s desire to return to his home country, where there has been plenty of interest and even the offer of a three-year contract from Bordeaux.
Arsenal, though, rejected any request from Koscielny to move on and instead expected him to see out the remainder of his contract.
This now gives Arsenal the problem of who to select in defence. They are reportedly close to the signing of Wiliam Saliba, but any deal will seem him loaned back to St Etienne for the 2019/20 season.
It’s likely that Sokratis will retain his place in the side after some solid performances last season, but the same can’t be said of Shkodran Mustafi, who could face the chop.
Further options include Rob Holding, once back from injury, and Konstantinos Mavropanos, but this leaves little depth. Arsenal also have Calum Chambers and Carl Jenkinson at their disposal, but their constant loan away from the club suggest they won’t be seeing first-team action any time soon at the Emirates.