Sunday, July 14, 2024

Koscielny becomes Sporting Director at Lorient

Former Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has been appointed Sporting Director at Ligue 2 side FC Lorient.

The 38-year-old assumes the position having spent last season coaching the club’s under-17s following his retirement as a player in 2022.

Koscielny was signed by Arsene Wenger from Lorient in 2010 and spent nine seasons as a Gunner, officially taking the armband for the 2018/19 campaign. In total, he made 353 appearances for the Gunners and was part of three FA Cup-winning squads.

Unfortunately, he left under a bit of a cloud after Unai Emery’s first season as head coach, refusing to travel on a pre-season tour of the USA with the aim of pushing through a return to France.

It was later reported that Koscielny resorted to such behaviour because the club had reneged on a gentleman’s agreement to let him leave for a nominal fee. Privately, he’d also expressed concerns about the pressure exerted on his ageing and increasingly injury-prone body.

When he later signed for Bordeaux, his unveiling video – featuring him dispensing with an Arsenal shirt – ruffled a few feathers and sullied his reputation in the eyes of some supporters. Given his warrior-like service, he should have been cut more slack.

Perhaps Mikel Arteta – healer-in-chief – might find a way to repair that relationship at some point.

Anyway, it’s interesting to see Koscielny take the next step in his career. As someone who was capped more than 50 times by France (and could have captained them to World Cup glory in 2018 were it not for injury) he always had the pedigree to build an interesting profile away from the pitch.

Lorient were relegated from Ligue 1 last season so Lolo has a bit of a rebuild job on his hands. We’ll be keeping close tabs on his progress.

Post-playing careers of Arsene Wenger-appointed Arsenal captains

Patrick Vieira
2013-15 | Manchester City | Elite Development Squad Coach
2016-18 | New York City FC | Head Coach
2018-20 | Nice | Manager
2021-23 | Crystal Palace | Manager
2023- | Strasbourg | Manager

Thierry Henry
2015 | Arsenal | Under-19s Coach
2016-17 | Belgium | Assistant Coach
2018-19 | Monaco | Head Coach
2019-21 | Monteal Impact | Head Coach
2023- | France under-23s / Olympics | Head Coach

William Gallas
Professional weirdo

Cesc Fabregas
2023 | Como | Assistant / Interim Head Coach

Robin van Persie
2020-24 | Feyenoord | Assistant Coach
2024 | Heerenveen | Head Coach

Thomas Vermaelen
2022 | Belgium | Assistant Coach
2023- | Belgium Under-18s | Assistant Coach
2023- | Belgium Under-20s | Head Coach

Mikel Arteta
2016-2019 | Manchester City | Assistant Coach
2019- | Arsenal | Head Coach / Manager

Per Mertesacker
2018- | Arsenal | Academy Manager

Laurent Koscielny
2023-24 | Lorient | Under-17s Head Coach
2024 | Lorient | Sporting Director

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Interesting list. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Hasn’t Patrick Vieira been the head coach of Racing Strasbourg in Ligue 1 since 2023?


wow, I had no idea! Clearly neither did Andrew A.

Chennai Loves Arsenal

Yes, acording to their web site

Gunnar Elí

I’m still pissed at the Birmingham kerfuffle
Still have nightmares…

But I will not say anything bad about Lolo. He was immense a true maniac

Public Elneny

As a GK myself I think that one was 99% on Szczesny

Sean Johansen

Always found the reaction to that shirt unveiling video completely nuts. Sure, it wasn’t the most graceful exit we’ve ever seen, but come on, he didn’t go full Gallas and throw his Arsenal jersey and captain’s arm band onto a bonfire. He removed an Arsenal shirt to reveal a Bordeaux one. For some to suggest it tarnished their view of the player and his time at the club felt wildly over the top.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Immense in stupidity for sure, he also criticized Deschamps pretending he ignored him when he was injured for the WC. This was absolutely false. Deschamps took the time to pay tribute to him publicly.

Johnny 4 Hats

How good was Koscielny?

I find it hard to figure out if he was an ok defender in a terrible defence or a great defender in an ok defence.

I mean, he was our standout CB for 3 or 4 seasons. But then again, inanimate carbon rod looked half decent when he came on for Eboue.


Unquestionably a great defender and one of the main reasons we kept finishing top 4 and winning cups in that otherwise fairly depressing era and despite being surrounded by mostly mediocre defenders at best, and equally important by a team without the mentality that the *whole team* should defend as we see now, not just the back 5

John C

Nah, he wasn’t a great defender, he was a total representation of the club at the time, good enough.

Good enough to scrape into the champions league places without ever being good enough to compete let alone win.

John C

He was a mid-level premier league defender.

Light weight, was easily bullied but looked decent alongside the ballast Mertesacker provided.

Was the one consistent from the 8-2 defeat to Utd through to the 10-2 aggregate mauling to Bayern and everything in-between but somehow escapes proper scrutiny his performances deserved.


Nonsense, he was the real deal. He got 50 caps for France and was in line to captain them to WC victory at 2018. Not many people would be trusted by Deschamps if they didn’t have it what it takes. Unfortunately his time at Arsenal coincided with late Wenger drift – the team structure around him was falling apart, there was no midfield cover for the defence, and he was having to do too much (including playing with multiple injuries). The backline for that 8-2 mauling was him, Djorou, Carl Jenkinson and Armand Traore – you’d be hard pressed to… Read more »

John C

He wasn’t, he was a decent defender, certainly not top quality. Much of that was because he was too small and weak to be considered a top central defender. His partnership with Mertesacker was his best period because they complimented each other and Mertesacker brought the size. France lost the Euro’s because Koscielny got swatted aside by a Blackburn reserve and by the way Deschamp’s doesn’t trust Saliba, that shows his assessment of central defenders. What was our line-up when we lost 6-0, 6-3, 5-1 or the 3 consecutive 5-1’s against Bayern? I can’t possibly consider any defender thats been… Read more »

yes John I don’t know if you have a subscription to the Athletic but this article highlights that the common theme in those defeats to Bayern was that Koscielny was absent. Arsenal 2 – 0 Bayern Koscielny plays the full match. Bayern 5 – 1 Arsenal Koscielny is injured and doesn’t play. Bayern 5 – 1 Arsenal First half: 1 – 1, Koscielny wins the penalty for Arsenal’s equaliser. Half-time: Koscielny goes off injured, doesn’t return for the 2nd half. Second half: Bayern 4 – 0 Arsenal. Arsenal 1 – 5 Bayern First half: Arsenal 1 – 0 Bayern Second… Read more »

John C

I never said he was the reason, I said his performances were never fully scrutinised. Interesting you choose those matches, why didn’t you pick the 6-0 defeat to Chelsea or 5-1 defeat to Liverpool or 6-3 against City, 3 games he played the entire 90+ minutes. I stand by what I said, Koscielny was not a top central defender. He was often weak, got bullied, was attracted to the ball, dived into tackles and was often left on his arse. Yes Wengers tactics played their part with the lack of midfield protection but top central defenders organise those in front… Read more »


Very untrue. He might have had a blunder or two once his injury period started and he was sometimes in the process of finding his form, but at his best (in his 2nd to 4th seasons with us) he was a *world class* defender that wouldve walked into most top teams. Much stronger than he looked, very quick, spectacularly good at taking the ball without sliding, great in the air and always willing to sacrifice his body. Couldn’t ask much more from a defender. Some bad results in that era because you need a full team or at least full… Read more »

John C

At no point ever was he world class.

Did he show the qualities you mentioned against mid to lower level opposition? Yes he did, did he show it against top 4 or champions league knockout teams, absolutely not! And that’s evidenced by our lamentable record against those sides.

He was the embodiment of the side he played in, a 73 point player in a 73 point team. Could look fantastic against the dross but came up woefully short a against the very best


That’s an extremely simplistic way of looking at things. Not all players on a 73 point team are 73 point players, it isn’t a monolith. Some are 85 points and some are 60 points players. He was very clearly one of the best players on those teams, which evened out the trash to ensure we were decent rather than complete trash. Nobody, absolutely nobody can elevate a team to the top alone, even Messi couldn’t. Stick Saliba or Virgil Van Dyke on those teams instead of Koscielny and they’d get at most 3 or 4 more points in a season.


Isn’t the definition of world class playing International football?
Or are you contending is being one of the best two central defenders in the world?

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

If that’s the criteria to be world class, then Johan Djourou was a world class defender


Using Adams and Co as evidence for organising players ahead of you whilst simultaneously citing two of the best and most disciplined central midfielders to have played in the Prem isn’t really fair.
I dont think Koscielny can be considered a great defender in Premier League terms, but he certainly saved us on several occasions. Really though this argument is kind of pointless- we’ll never truly know how good he was as he spent his prime years in a truly mediocre side.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I agree with all of this. People just remember his pace, which helped him to recover and make last ditch tackles.
Great defenders are usually in the right position and hardly have to dive in


All those thumpings were on Arsene Wenger.


Very weird of you Johnny. He was a great player, and I didn’t get the over-reaction on his unveiling video. I loved him then and still do so.

Johnny 4 Hats

Hey, it got people talking, didn’t it?

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

He was extremely overrated. His pace bailed him out many times to do a last ditch tackle, so people thought he was a quality defender. How many times was he part of a 4/5/6 goal defeat?

Skinny Ricki

Great piece. Koscielny was indeed a warrior, and great defender who put his body on the line time and again for the cause.
A minor correction: Paddy is currently manager of Strasbourg.

Kehinde Olubayo

Patrick is manager at Strasbourg.


As far as I’m aware, Patrick Vieira has been the manager/head coach of Strasbourg in Ligue 1 since 2023, and has just finished his first season there.


I am not that type of person and sorry in advance to their fans but I wouldn’t mind Heerenveen losing their opening 5 games 10-0 each game, sacking their manager then winning the next 20 games 10-0 or more


Great article. Love to see a follow up next season including Santi and Xhaka.


If Raul and Gaz built up the squad properly instead of feeding their friends / boosting their cv’s respectively, we would have used the net difference of Auba – Giroud, to bring in a central defensive cover so Kos wouldn’t have had to play 40+ games on his dodgy Achilles and Bellerin wouldn’t have destroyed his legs by covering the entire right flank on his own, which led to Maitland Niles swearing never to cover right wingback ever again.


Can we delete that P*ssy guy forever from our former players list?


That’s just sad. Van Persie is one of our all time great players, despite how it ended.

Gooney Tunes

He had one good season and a bunch of meh ones. Hardly a great.


Was a shame how he left, I loved him. He was a rare highlight in a very average period for Arsenal.
I wish him well and hope his relationship with the Arsenal can be repaired, as he was a warrior for us.


Not a former captain so not on the list but it’ll be nice to see Silvinho at the Euros.

Crash Fistfight

There was an interesting article about his time as Albania boss on the BBC website (I think) the other week. Lots of TV scouting and number-crunching involved, including a player who was playing in the K-League. He seems to be doing a good job!


RVP turned out to be a bellend, but what a unique player he was. If we had him in our current side we’d be unstoppable.



I think Havertz is developing into that kind of striker for us at the moment. I’m excited to see what he produces next season.


Some parallels in their style, but RVP’s ball-striking was on another level. God dammit now I’m going to YT to watch those volleys from 2011-2022 again.


That’s true enough. If there’s one aspect of his game Havertz could do with improving it would be the conviction with which he shoots. I don’t doubt he has the technique for it, maybe just sometimes the confidence. If he can nail that, with the quality of his movement and how often he finds himself in dangerous positions he’ll be prolific.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

If RVP volleys were a metric on top trumps, then surely his 2006 volley vs Charlton wins.
God damn you RVP, god damn you. What could have been


That’s still my favourite ever Arsenal goal. Not as skillful as Bergkamp vs Newcastle, nor as beautiful as Wilshere vs Norwich, or iconic as several of Henry’s.
But christ, the athleticism and brute force of it. The sound of it is so damn satisfying.
The Ramsey Champions League goal from like 30 yards on his weak foot is up there in ‘underappreciated worldies’ too. Never seen someone strike a ball like it before or after, was like a golf shot.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Sorry but Havertz is a very different player. Martinelli has the potential to become the new RVP. Don’t know what happened to Martinelli in 2023/2024.

Crash Fistfight

Not getting that comparison. RVP was not particularly quick and was very good technically. Both seem the opposite of Martinelli (I’m not saying he’s a donkey before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, just that his game isn’t really based around technicality).


Havertz is miles behind van Persie atm.


Havertz is miles behind van Persie atm.


I think Gallas is more Professional Gobshite than Weirdo.
Airways seems to get quoted, but anyone seeing what he said immediately thinks; “Who the fuck asked him anyway?”.

John C

They forgot Sol Campbell, he’s definitely a professional weirdo


Gallas..some things never change


Correction, Veira has been the head coach of RC Strasbourg since 2023


I don’t think I’ll ever understand how so many fans get angry when players make decisions based on their own rational self-interest. I thought Koscielny was a warrior and our best defender during an admittedly down era of Arsenal football. He left because he thought it was best for him (I’m sure for many reasons, only some of which we know). I’m grateful that I got to watch such a consummate professional for those ten years or so. All the best to you, Lolo.


Oh come on! Koscielny is probably a top 10 all time CB for France, and top 5 for Arsenal. If being on the wrong end of big defeats means you are average then how about Rio Ferdinand 1-7 ManU, 0-6 Everton, 1-6 City; Van Dijke 2- 7 Villa, 1-6 Gronigen. I have plenty more examples. Koscielny was class.


Aside from Saliba, Koscielny is the best centre back I’ve seen play for Arsenal. For almost his entire time with us he played in teams that lacked any kind of defensive structure or commitment and was still able to shine. He was stellar.


Kos the Boss, one of my great favourite.

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