Arsenal Transfer News: Laurent Koscielny's Commitment to Club Is Vital
Over the past two summers, Arsenal have been a selling club. Top players like Robin van Persie, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have all been sold and replaced by solid but hardly equivalent footballers.
This summer, it was believed that the club would be major buyers and hold on to its main contributors. That seemed to be called into question after top defender Laurent Koscielny hinted earlier this summer he could move on if the club doesn't make a concerted effort to earn trophies.
And not surprisingly, several top clubs were linked with his services after he put together a very solid season for Arsenal.
But now, he's made his desire to remain with Arsenal crystal clear. From Darren Lewis of the Mirror:
Now though, Koscielny has said: "I have a four-year contract. For now, I am still at Arsenal."
Koscielny insists the Gunners superb end-of-season run, kick-started by their Champions League win at Bayern Munich, has convinced him that the club can punch their weight higher up the table next season.
Although the victory in Munich was not enough to progress in Europe, it was the springboard for a stunning climax to Arsenal's campaign which ended with a place in the top four.
Koscielny, 27, said: "The second leg of the Champions League against Bayern Munich was a trigger for us," he added. "In the process, we almost won everything.
"The most important thing is that Arsenal is in the Champions League. It is super-exciting to play against the best teams in Europe."
I'm assuming by saying "we almost won everything" Koscielny meant the team almost beat Bayern Munich in their Champions League matchup and moved on to the next round. Clearly, Arsenal never came close to winning any trophies this season.
According to WhoScored, Koscielny earned a solid 6.99 average match rating for Arsenal this season, and dipped below a 7.0 rating just once in his last 11 matches for the club. He may have had a sketchy start to the season, but he finished strong and was one of Arsenal's most consistent players down the stretch.
He and Per Mertesacker eventually formed a solid central pairing in the Gunners defense and relegated captain Thomas Vermaelen to bench duty by the end of the year. They were also a huge reason why Arsenal gave up just 37 Premier League goals this season, second only to Manchester City (34).
Certainly, he isn't a player Arsenal wants to lose this summer. While the team appears this close to improving the attack with Gonzalo Higuain—and surely, adding a true holding midfielder will also be a priority—an inability to keep a key player like Koscielny would be seen as a major failure.
But if Arsenal can keep their core together, key players such as Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continue to improve, and the club can bring in several impact signings, there is no reason this team can't compete for a number of trophies next season.
Thus, hearing Koscielny's commitment to the club will come as a major relief to Gooners. He figures to once again be a key contributor for this team next year.
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