Laurent Koscielny's agent has said the Arsenal and France defender thought about leaving the north London club alongside Arsene Wenger at the end of last season when he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Stephane Courbis represents Koscielny and told France Football (h/t Charles Watts of Football.London) his client was seriously considering a departure at the same time as Wenger, who stood down in May after 22 years at the club.
Koscielny ruptured his Achilles in the UEFA Europa League semi-final second-leg defeat to Atletico Madrid, and Courbis said:
"When he banged the floor with his hand, I immediately knew that it was serious, that it was over.
"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 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."
Journalist James Benge recently gave an update on Koscielny's fitness after it looked as though he would struggle to feature again in 2018:
The centre-back, who turns 33 on September 10, is an eight-year veteran at the Emirates Stadium after joining Arsenal from Lorient in 2010.
Courbis added a return to Ligue 1 was plausible: "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."
Wenger deployed Koscielny at the core of his back line throughout their eight years together at the club, but the latter may have held fears his manager's successor might begin to faze him out.
Unai Emery could still wish to do so even when Koscielny returns to the fold in full, but comments given in late August suggest he holds the defender in high esteem, via Omnisport:
The north Londoners also lost an experienced centre-back when Per Mertesacker retired in the summer, but they signed Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund as his replacement.
Centre-back has long been an area in need for Arsenal, however, and Eurosport's Tom Adams suggested that even with a full array, Emery's selection isn't that impressive:
Koscielny's contract at the Emirates expires in June 2020, at which point he'll be 34, and while it's difficult to see him penning another extension, it's possible he could remain to see out his decade of service to Arsenal.
The option of a departure has been considered, but many fans will be glad he stuck around to see through Emery's transition rather than head for the exit with Wenger.