Laurent Koscielny seriously weighed up leaving Arsenal when he found out Arsene Wenger was stepping down as manager.
According to his agent, Stephane Courbis, the Gunners captain had three offers on the table, including one from a club in China, before he suffered a ruptured Achilles in May that ruled him out of the World Cup and continues to keep him sidelined.
Speaking to France Football about how close Koscielny was to a departure, Courbis drew attention to the importance of the timing of injury.
“When he banged the floor with his hand, I immediately knew that it was serious, that it was over,” he explained.
“Everything at that moment went through my mind, including the worst, which was validated when it emerged that it was an Achilles rupture and that he would miss the World Cup.
“Laurent was perhaps playing the final matches of his Arsenal career.
“He had started thinking about a possible departure from Arsenal at the same time as Arsene Wenger.
“It was the right moment, the final moment to leave with the arrival of the new manager.
“I had already anticipated this, with two or three offers that were starting to make us think.
“We were open to different options, China as much as France. He could not see himself playing for another English team other than Arsenal.
“Since the approach from Marseille least season, the notion of returning to Ligue 1 entered his thinking. It was a genuine possibility.”
Koscielny is very much on the mend and should be back in training by November. Unai Emery has already underlined his faith in the France international’s quality by confirming the Frenchman as the club’s captain.
He’ll no doubt be hoping the defender’s experience will bring a calmness to a defence that has struggled in his absence this season.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether Kos is any better suited to the Spaniard’s ‘play out from the back’ tactics than Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis…teaching old dogs new tricks is never easy.