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.