Laurent Koscielny: Yesterday’s Man

Today’s post was always about Laurent Koscielny. It was a gentle questioning of his role. I’ve left the opening as it was but I’ve been overtaken by events…

In a little under two months time, Laurent Koscielny celebrates his 34th birthday. It isn’t a momentous number in the great scheme of things. No signs put up in his street with a black and white photo reminding everyone of a youth long gone. There probably won’t be any balloons or ribbons tied to his garage either. In short, it will be just like any other day. 

OK, maybe not; he will, I hope, celebrate the day and enjoy ticking off another year on the mental calendar.

In terms of his career, things are different. Were it not for the cruel intervention of fate last year, Koscielny would be contemplating another season in Ligue Un. He and his agent made no secret of his intention to leave Arsenal during the summer of 2018. Injury changed that. As he crumpled to the turf, so did our Europa League hopes. There were other factors at play in Madrid but Koscielny’s injury certainly didn’t help.

But at 34, questions are surfacing in my mind about whether he can cut it in the Premier League any longer? Pace is an issue for any ageing player, be they striker, winger or defender. We saw with Per Mertesacker how damaging getting older can be. The realisation that his playing days were numbered came against Chelsea when Diego Costa, among others, presented him with a silver Zimmer frame. Per knew it was time to move onto his post-playing career.

Koscielny’s Arsenal career is one of phases. The early days, particularly early in a season, always had an own goal, red card or injury in them. Sometimes two of the of three in the same game but with experience came improvement. However, there was always a sense he had a ricket in him; we were never far from a cock-up. 

Set Phases to Stunned

Yet the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi drew attention away from Koscielny in that sense. The German’s career is one long brain fart interspersed by moments of sanity. That shows no sign of changing…

And with these and far, far, worse instances, enhanced Koscielny’s reputation. By comparison, he occupied a plinth next to Beckenbauer, Moore and Krol. Mustafi makes him seem world-class when the reality is that he’s just a very good defender.

Refusing to tour the USA is a step too far. Arsenal are woefully underachieving at the moment which puts all the players on the back foot. Critics must is never far from the surface and this instance, Koscielny deserves both barrels. I would stop short of tar and feathering him but not far.

He is club captain and with that comes responsibility. We are promoting young players and his role is crucial in their development. Supporters constantly remind players on social media of David Rocastle’s words, as well as those of Tony Adams. These are the standards to which a club captain must live up. Koscielny’s arrogance in presuming he can (effectively) strike fall woefully and embarrassingly short.

If there were an important personal issue at stake, he would receive my unfailing sympathy. But to force a move to Bordeaux or Rennes? He can, quite honestly, do one.

I think last summer he might have received a favourable hearing at the club. This time, his actions ensure he won’t. The club 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.

Raul’s Arsenal isn’t as soft as Ivan’s

Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Arsenal On The Way Out

The reality is that we will accept what is effectively a transfer request. We should, however, withhold all ‘loyalty’ bonuses. I’m sick of the greed shown by clubs, managers and players. Money ripped the heart out of football and these parasites drink its soul.

I hope Koscielny is consigned to the youths while this drama unfolds. If he is still here when the season starts, he can rot away from the first-team. We need players willing to give their all on the pitch. I don’t think he is after one last payday but wanting to return to the less physical Ligue Un is an admission on his part that he is no longer capable of playing in the Premier League.

Time for him to go in that case.

‘Til Tomorrow.

27 thoughts on “Laurent Koscielny: Yesterday’s Man

  1. @andy

    I was reading a little on that, still and again you are spot on. For a player who owes everything to Arsenal, this leaves a bad taste in the mouth and a terrible way to try and leave the club. If he was smart, he would have went on tour and worked it out quietly with the club, instead refusing as club Captain to go on tour is just a bad look.

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  2. Hi YW, great to see you back on track.

    can I just say though, I’m with kos on this one and thats before all the goodwill the club have built up with the fans over the years.
    any one who has played sport on any level for a sustained period will know a thing or two about injuries. arsenal fans you would think more so given what we have all unfortunately witnessed.
    kos, like you said improved over time and I don’t think anyone would argue that he didn’t give his all. I really felt it for him last season, you conclude asking whether he is still fit for the pl? He hasn’t been for some time hence 2018.
    unfortunately this club has been a circus for some time and kos wasn’t afforded the same luxury Santi got. instead we appear to be using kos as a scapegoat like he hasn’t been a plaster to a bullet wound that has long past the stage of being addressed.

    rest up kos, and thank you for going in head first into the trenches time and again until you broke.

    put some respect on that man’s name.

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  3. C,

    Yup, why tarnish his reputation because of greed? I’m sure if this wasn’t about a free transfer, and the club could earn a fee to soften the blow (not much of a blow if I’m honest), then a deal could have been done. Okay he would have to take a lower wage but he’s hardly on the breadline is he? It obviously says a lot about his character but also about the culture of some of the more long serving players. YW is right to contrast him with Per, and the comparison isn’t favourable to Koscielny.

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  4. Colts,

    Sorry, can’t agree because this is someone who is trying to maximise his earning potential at his next employer at the expense of his current one by demanding a free transfer. Why on earth should the club agree to that? Did someone force him to sign his contract and take the £90k a week at gun point? Difficult to feel any sympathy for me.

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  5. Goodbye Laurent take half your pals with you on the way out. You’ve been okay at Arsenal but this is a pathetic display. Agree with the club, demand a fee or play with the kids for a year.
    If the club captain is prepared to behave like this, doesn’t bode well.
    Trouble is we can get rid of all of these dreadful players but we can’t buy any to replace them.
    Emery will be working miracles to get us into the top four.

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  6. IMO why not let him go on a free!? I don’t get what the big deal is. No one is going to come in for him and he’s more likely to cost points next season, rather than earn us some. Any fee for him would be minimal and certainly wouldn’t fund any new acquisitions. I get it, he wants to maximise his earning potential. It’s business, I’d want to maximise my earning potential.

    Unfortunately though, sulking and throwing your toys out of the pram, isn’t how a professional of any sort, should be behaving. I hope a fine is forth coming and a spell in the reserves. But ultimately let him go. We don’t need the negativity surrounding the club, player’s etc.

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  7. andy1886,

    I can’t speak to the inner workings of the business of football contracts or to his personal decisions without speculating. I’m just trying to understand why someone like kos would act this way.
    given his circumstances over the last few years I can understand him making a stand for himself as this club is quite flippant when it comes to a player’s health. I’m sure they are prepared to use him for another season in some capacity and I think given what we saw last year is disrespectful.

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  8. andy1886,

    Completely agree and you and Yogi mention Mert, he was an example that Kos shoulf have followed. Okay, naybe Kos didn’t want to go into coaching but clearly Mert and the club chatted and found a resolution that worked for all parties involved. At this point, I doubt Arsenal would have asked for a substantial fee and would have done right by Kos but now, nope. If the reports of Kos thinking about buying out his contract are true, then fine, let him do but all upfront….otherwise he mine as well fuck off to Frabce because I wouldn’t want him around the youth set-up pulling this card.

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  9. The significant word in the Arsenal statement is “refused”. Not “begged off” or “isn’t able to”, just “refused to travel”. Fine example for the young players, and from the captain, of all people. No, sorry, he doesn’t, can’t, get a pass on this. His message to the squad is to stick to your guns and don’t do what’s best for the team.

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  10. I wouldn’t give Koscielny a free transfer or else he would be seen to have won. Instead, he should be stripped of the captaincy. He would then be marginalized at the club while a transfer is being explored. That would send a message to the squad that no-one is above the team.
    It’s going to be hard for Arsenal to look good in all this but they can’t let the player thumb his nose at them and then profit from it. Too bad for Koscielny that Arsene isn’t here.

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  11. We’ve had similar petulance in the past. Didn’t Cesc threaten something similar & RV Penis was on the verge too.

    So , maybe we should take the commonly used ‘nominal fee’ & let him go.Pronto.

    Thanks for your (highly paid) efforts , Kos – now piss off.

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  12. Very surprised Kos is behaving like this. Doesn’t seem the type at all to me. Problem we have though is that he’s still our best CB even at 34. Worrying times ahead.

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  13. Not sure why the club is taking so long to decide what to do:

    Strip of armband, fine, sell.

    If other teams want him and he is still under contract we get some money for him. He knows full well that the club have a small transfer budget and will need to buy another defender if he goes. Why should we let him go on a free and get a signing on fee? We don’t owe him and he has been paid well at Arsenal. So what if he would have gone back to France last summer? Was he going to get a pay rise going there?

    The only thing I wonder is why it has come to this. We have seen several Arsenal players in recent years make their situation with the club public in one way or another – Van Penis with his statement on his website is a prime example.

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  14. Looking at all these, and not convinced that AFC’s position in the PL table is likely to improve this season, it looks more and more that Emery is not the man-like the late Dick Emery’s bad jokes, this Emery’s performance is not convincing. One more season? Not sure.

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  15. Emery isn’t the contracts man. He has input of course but he isn’t the man who does the deals or negotiates with players. He is however the man who has to make a cohesive team from the mess that he’s been left with. Blaming the manager for this is way off the mark.

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  16. I’m more concerned over the way football clubs search for additional finance during the close season. No sooner has the playing season ended and a month’s holiday, when a lucrative Far East tour looms. Apart from receipts, these weary tours achieve little. The heat and constant air travel are debilitating to players attempting to recover from a hard domestic season.
    Once upon a time a few weeks bonding in Southern Germany would have sufficed. Nowadays, there is no financial gain in such a move and the love for money is sacrosanct.

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  17. Kos was never the A-list defender that other Blogs would have you believe. From the almighty cock up against Birmingham in the League Cup many years ago to now he has always struggled under pressure. Big strikers were his nemesis: Drogba, Costa, even Giroud in the EL final.

    Saying that the cupboard is bare at centre back and he would have been a decent reserve. It will be Sok plus one.

    The captain armband will be removed (was he the right player for that?) hopefully to Sok. God help us if Xhaka ends up with it.

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