Arsenal’s long-serving defender and captain Laurent Koscielny might be closer to an exit from the club after reportedly agreeing personal terms with Stade Rennais.
While Unai Emery and his side are keeping themselves busy with their pre-season campaign, plenty of stuff is happening in London. With arrivals being few and far between till now, Arsenal could be preparing themselves for an exit of one of their long-serving players. According to RMC Sport, Laurent Koscielny has agreed personal terms with Stade Rennais as a summer departure looms.
Koscielny has been the bedrock of Arsenal’s defence for nearly a decade since signing from Lorient back in 2010. The Frenchman has gone on to forge a reputation of being one of the best centre-halves in the Premier League, and has won three FA Cup titles with the Gunners.
At the beginning of last season, when many considered his Arsenal career to be over following a long-term Achilles injury, he came back to prove them otherwise. The Frenchman went on to make 30 appearances in all competitions.
But, right before Arsenal’s pre-season tour to USA, Koscielny refused to travel citing his need to leave the club. The club were agitated at the way it all happened and opened disciplinary action. Although officially Arsenal have not stripped him of the captain’s armband, Koscielny’s departure is widely expected.
Stade Rennais have emerged as the leading contenders in his chase. There was early interest from Borussia Dortmund who were looking for experience to win the Bundesliga next season, but those links have gone cold following the return of Mats Hummels. Bordeaux were also thought to be pushing for a transfer, but it seems Rennes have the upper hand.
According to the report, the Arsenal captain has an agreement in place with Rennes and could be set to join them imminently. However, things are at a complicated stage for the fact that Koscielny is yet to speak to Arsenal in an official capacity. With a year left on his contract, the North Londoners still have the power to make the final decision.
Additionally, the Gunners have been struggling in the transfer market to bring in priority targets. Before the window opened Koscielny’s central defensive partner, Shkodran Mustafi was widely tipped to leave the club, but it turns out it is the Frenchman who is about to depart. Arsenal are likely to sanction a move if they find a suitable replacement for their captain.
Following what has been a controversial July, since the return of the Arsenal first-team squad for pre-season training, Laurent Koscielny looks set to call time on his long spell at the Emirates. It now remains to be seen if Stade Rennais indeed become his next destination, or if some other club emerges in his pursuit.