Laurent Koscielny has left Arsenal for Bordeaux in a deal worth around €5m.
The former captain’s relationship with the club broke down this summer over a contractual dispute, with the 33 year old refusing to go on the summer tour of the USA.
Despite efforts from Unai Emery and Raul Sanllehi, there was no reconciliation, and the defender’s desire to go back to France to see out his career won out.
It’s a shame that it has ended the way it has, because a popular player who has given a lot to Arsenal is leaving under a cloud. His reputation among fans has been badly damaged, and it does overshadow the positives aspects of his nine year stay in North London.
Since joining in 2010, he made 353 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 27 goals and making 5 assists. He picked up 47 yellow cards and 6 red cards.
The Frenchman had a habit of scoring important goals too, including a couple of final day winners against West Brom and Newcastle which saw us qualify for the Champions League at the expense of Sp*rs – as well as an equaliser in the 2014 FA Cup final against Hull after we’d fallen 2-0 behind early on.
Like most players he had his ups and downs, but over the duration of his Arsenal career there were far more positives than negatives. His partnership with Per Mertesacker was about the best we’ve had in a long time, and over the years he’s been paired with some players who would make life challenging, to say the least.
Fans generally appreciated his whole-hearted approach, and even last season after coming back from a terrible Achilles injury, he was our best central defender.
Without defending his behaviour in any way, it’s sad that it has ended so acrimoniously.
An Arsenal statement this afternoon read:
Laurent, who started his career in the French second division at Guingamp in 2004, has played 51 matches for France and was entering the final year of his current contract with us. We decided to sanction his move to Bordeaux once we agreed acceptable transfer terms.
We thank Laurent for his contribution to the club and wish him all the best for the future.
The club now have to replace him, with not a great deal of time left in this transfer window.