Arsenal manager Unai Emery has admitted he is still hopeful captain Laurent Koscielny will choose to stay at the club this summer.
The Frenchman caused upset among Arsenal fans when it was revealed he had refused to travel with the Gunners on their pre-season tour to the United States.
Will Koscielny stay at Arsenal? Five things to know…
- Laurent Koscielny joined Arsenal from Lorient in 2010.
- The Frenchman is Arsenal’s captain, taking over from Per Mertesacker.
- Koscielny hoped to leave Arsenal this summer, but the club reportedly denied his request for a free transfer.
- As a result, the 33-year-old refused to join Arsenal on their pre-season tour to the USA.
- But Emery hopes he can persuade Koscielny to stay this season.
Koscielny has one year remaining on his Arsenal deal and reportedly asked the club to terminate his contract early, so he could move on after nine years.
But, despite the Frenchman trying to push a move away, Emery is still hopeful Koscielny will remain at the Emirates for the upcoming season.
“I fight to convince him, but I respect his decision, a very personal decision, and that situation can only manage with one argument,” Emery told reporters.
“I haven’t lost my hope that he will be with us next year.
“He’s a very important player for us. We are speaking with him and with the team.”
However, should Koscielny leave Arsenal, Emery remains confident in his current centre-backs, insisting the club will not look to sign another one unless they are an improvement.
He added: “We are speaking about the centre-backs, but we have a lot of centre-backs, we have good centre-backs, and if we can sign one more centre-back, it is because he is clearly better than we have. Because at the moment we have six.”
Arsenal have already signed one centre-back this summer, bringing William Saliba in from Saint-Etienne for £27m, though the Frenchman will remain with the Ligue 1 side on loan for the season.
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Wright questions Koscielny’s loyalty
When Koscielny’s absence from Arsenal’s pre-season tour squad was announced, Gunners fans were immediate sent into disarray at their club captain.
And the same reaction came from former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, who believes Koscielny is risking damaging his Gunners legacy.
He said: “For our captain who has been there for nearly 10 years, to get to a station where he is giving us unbelievable service.
“We’ve seen him play through the pain, build a legacy and a legendary status he deserves. I have to question Laurent’s loyalty and love for the club to do this in pre-season when you are the captain with young players, a time in the season when everyone should be together.
“This is going to be a tough season for Arsenal because we are in transition and we have a lot catching up to do. For our captain to refuse to go on a pre-season tour after nine years of unbelievable service, to destroy your legacy at a club that you’ve to professed to love, it’s baffling.”