The signing of Laurent Koscielny for nearly £10m raised some eyebrows 18 months ago. A player who had just played one season of top flight football was brought into a team which needed serious defensive improvement.
There were moments during his first campaign which caused some to doubt Arsene Wenger’s decision, but this season has gone a long way to put those to bed once and for all. The Arsenal manager is sometimes accused of not knowing how to coach a defence but the proof of Koscielny’s improvement is on the pitch week in, week out.
And Koscielny puts that down to becoming more used to the physical aspect of the English game. In an interview with this month’s Arsenal Magazine, he said, “I have improved because I’ve got used to the English game. Its pace, its rhythm, its physicality. It’s such a tough league for defenders.
“In England all the strikers are six foot three or four and 90 kilos. I had to progress physically as I was not used to that kind of opposition in France. I had to work hard to bridge the gap in terms of physical aspect. This season I feel much better in the duels and you can see it because I make fewer fouls and get fewer bookings than last year.
“I am also a better player now because I know th club, I know my team-mates very well and I feel good in my life off the pitch”.
Having recently won his first cap for France, and with Euro 2012 looming, the Frenchman knows that he’s got a good chance of making his national squad as long as he continues to perform for Arsenal.
“Arsenal is my priority but the Euros are also a big objective for me. There will be one game in Germany in February before the coach announces his squad in May. So I will need to show my level with Arsenal in the next 6 months”.
If he continues to play the way he has been for the Gunners there’s little doubt Koscielny will be going to Poland and Ukraine next summer, and the money Arsene dished out to secure his services looks better spent each week.
Read the full interview with Laurent Koscielny by subscribing to the Arsenal Magazine