Arsenal target: 'Leave in the winter? I am no coward'

Despite a move to Arsenal being speculated, Marseille defender Nicolas N'Koulou has declared his intention to remain with the club.

The Cameroon international faced the Gunners twice in the Champions League group phase, but was booked in both contests. Despite his recent drop in form, a number of clubs have been eyeing the 23 year old, including Bayern Munich, Napoli and his former club Monaco.

But N'Koulou has no interest in leaving Marseille, and is determined to repay their faith in him by rediscovering his best form. Marseille, who recently replaced manager Elie Baup with Jose Anigo, are 15 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain, and need their star defender to improve in the second half of the season - which he has vowed to do.

"Leaving in the winter? I am no coward," he said. "I am not happy with what I have showed recently, so in such circumstances I won't leave. I owe a lot to l'OM who made me make a name for myself. It is very important for me to find again my best level first."

Arsenal were linked with a move for N'Koulou with manager Arsene Wenger possibly looking to strengthen the defence, particularly with concerns over Thomas Vermaelen - both in terms of his injuries and with the possibility of the Belgian international leaving the club.

Vermaelen has found it hard to break into the starting lineup this season as Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have built a formidable partnership in the heart of the Arsenal defence, but his departure would leave the Gunners short in case of an emergency. If Vermaelen does leave, it would be interesting to see whether Wenger would try to test Marseille's resolve by making a big for N'Koulou - despite his wishes to say in France.

image: © wonker

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