Football News

Laurent Koscielny explains why he chose to ‘drop down a level’ and force Arsenal exit

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 10:50, 7 October 2019

Laurent Koscielny says not being able to physically cope with a full Premier League season was a key reason behind his controversial Arsenal departure.

The 34-year-old French defender brought a nine-year association with the Gunners to an end this summer, but the manner of his exit infuriated some supporters.

Koscielny’s time at Arsenal: Five key things to know…

  • Koscielny joined Arsenal from FC Lorient in July 2010.
  • He would go on to make 353 appearances in all competitions, registering 27 goals.
  • Koscielny, though, in the summer opted to end his time in north London for physical and family reasons.
  • He refused to go on the Gunners’ pre-season tour of the United States to force a move.
  • Koscielny subsequently moved to Bordeaux and has been ever-present this season.

Koscielny, who served as the north London club’s captain, refused to take part in their pre-season tour of the United States in order to facilitate a move away from north London.

He eventually got his wish by joining Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux, marking a return to his native homeland but not before coming under heavy criticism.

For some observers it was nothing short of player power abuse, but the former Les Bleus international has explained why he chose to call time on his Arsenal career.

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“A Premier League season is very long. It requires a lot physically and mentally,” he told L’Équipe.

“I didn’t feel I could play 40-50 matches and I didn’t want to end my career with injuries. I’ve gone down a level, but to take more pleasure.

“Either I finished there or changed clubs. With my family, we felt it was time. Everything was in my thinking: football, my physical state, my wife, my children, the daily life we could have.

“I can only say that I left with my head held high. All of those I worked with for nine years… everyone respected my decision to return home with my family.”