The 27-year-dol French centre-back has come on leaps and bounds this term, improving so dramatically that he’s emerged as the Gunners’ most reliable form of protection at the back, ahead of captain Thomas Vermaelen and German giant Per Mertesacker.
Subsequently, his solid form this term has earned him some suitors from around the continent, if you believe the back pages – Bundesliga champions and European giants Bayern Munich are reportedly interested in acquiring the services of Arsenal’s Frenchman.
The Metro are even reporting that Bayern have already had a bid rejected by the North Londoners. Whether or not that claim is actually substantiated is another issue however, regardless of the rumours, and the Gunners’ now dismal record of losing their best players, I don’t imagine Laurent Koscielny will be moving anywhere any time soon.
When Arsenal sold Cesc Fabregas it was an exception – the Spaniard wanted to return home to his boyhood club and fulfil his destiny. When Arsenal sold Samir Nasri to Manchester City, they were offered a ridiculous amount of money for a player they’d (in retrospect) got the best out of. The player wanted more money and off he went.
When Arsenal sold Alex Song to Barcelona the story was much the same – they made an enormous profit on a player they paid peanuts for, in the grand scheme of things and when they sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United, they had no choice.
The club’s hands were tied – he’d announced he would not be renewing his contract, despite their efforts to convince him, and they couldn’t let him walk away for nothing, so that was that.
Koscielny meanwhile was brought in as a player highly regarded in France, robust and ideally suited to the Premier League’s rough and tumble and with plenty of gas left in the tank to improve, develop and, eventually, become a key player for Arsenal.
He is now that key player manager Arsene Wenger would have hoped he would evolve into and, as such, the boss is going to be more than a little reluctant to sell him. He’s just now entering most defenders’ peak years of their career, his fitness is impeccable, and his attitude has never been in question.
Meanwhile, the most important reason and, ultimately, the basis for my strong belief that Koscielny will remain at Arsenal for the long-term future is that his contract runs until 2017 – he’s only just put pen to paper and committed the best years of his career to Arsenal.
Arsenal hold all the cards with this one – they’ve got the strongest hand they’ve had with any top player in the last five years. Even if he fancied a move to the Bundesliga, Arsenal can just say ‘tough’. He’s staying, not matter how much they’re supposedly paying.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald