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August 2021

Laurent Koscielny and the transfer rumours

By Tony Attwood

Laurent Koscielny gave us fourth place this year.  And a lot more.

Before coming to us he played in the third, second and then first division of the French League – the last with our old pals Lorient – before signing on 7 July 2010.  He was voted the most effective signing of the season at Arsenal and last summer he signed a five year contract with Arsenal.  So far he has played 119 competitive games and scored 10 goals.

But the bit everyone remembers is that he ended up this season as one of the two main centre backs without Vermaelen.  That move followed the earlier one of using Aaron Ramsey, playing next to Arteta as a defensive midfield duo as the team was reorientated to give us that final run-in.

So what happened to Vermaelen?  One newspaper called him “ill-disciplined and boyishly overenthusiastic” – which is ludicrous when one thinks back to earlier persformances.  But it raises the issue – do you get rid of someone whose form has declined, or do you accept that all players have dips in form, and need help getting through?

What I think most of us agree is that Koscielny is reader of the attacking moves of the opposition, and knows where to put himself, and when.

As we know with Kos and Mert playing in the final run of games we won eight and drew two of the last 10, and let in an almighty five goals. That is better than the Invincibles – which means all we have to do now is keep it up all season.

So what will Mr Wenger do?  One paper said, “he will surely try to move Vermaelen on,” but that is the usual set up.  They say it, and then if the manager does something else, at the first dropped point then they blame the manager’s “incomprehensible” decision and do a neat flash back to the earlier article.
That matter dealt with in one sentence (with no thought of who the reserve would be if either of the central defenders got injured) then allowed commentators to tell us that Lukas Podolski is not quick enough, and Olivier Giroud has not enough quality to help Arsenal winh tropheys.
Which takes us back to Gonzalo Higuain, and Stevan Jovetic, plus Ashley Williams in defence, as the “must buy” players.

Personally I think Vermaelen will stay, and will recover his form, and that we won’t buy Williams, (although have announced that Arsenal and Swansea have agreed terms), but we will take either Gonzalo Higuain or Stevan Jovetic.  So based on my usual level of accuracy, that will all be proved wrong by the time you read this.

Oh yes and there is Leon Goretzka, who is 18 and is wanted by Borussia Monchengladbach from Bochum.  The Daily Express said that, “the young midfielder has earned rave reviews for his performances in the German second division this season, and his style has been compared with Borussia Dortmund star Mario Goetze.”

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But that is the Express.

Anyway, just for the hell of it, here is one more from CaughtOffside: Ilkay Gundogan currently at Borussia Dortmund.  But the fact that they say he would be ideal to “fill the defensive midfield void at Arsenal left by the departing Alex Song last summer,” makes it all seem a bit unlikely.   Just how many goals did we let in, in the last ten?

Here is the rest of it: “The 22-year-old has established himself as a key member of Borussia Dortmund’s team and has all the attributes to be a fine player for almost any top club. Manchester United and Barcelona have shown an interest in him, but Arsenal have also been linked with a £22million bid, which is just the kind of ambition they need to show this summer.

“Ilkay Gundogan would slot right in to the Arsenal team and could be their midfield enforcer for many years to come, and what a boost it would be for the club’s fans to know they beat other big teams to his signature – just the kind of lift they need after eight years without silverware.”

I won’t even bother with an opinion, since I probably know about the same amount as most newspaper journalists, which is about zero.  Although I did say that Kos really was a brilliant player before that became a popular thing to do.

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44 comments to Laurent Koscielny and the transfer rumours

  • Stevie E

    I can’t tell you how bored I am already reading that arsenal need to show ambition by buying this or that player. It’s as if the ambition shown by building a brand new stadium and negotiating massive sponsorship deals means nothing. To the gutter hacks, the only way a club can move forward is to buy buy buy. The lies they tell to make money… utterly shameless.

  • Bootoomee

    Stevie E,

    You forgot about the ALMIGHTY trophies dude! Trophies! Everyone knows that a team that is not winning trophies does not deserve to exist. Well, maybe they should (I’m wary of clubs genocide) but not a club supported by quality fans like the gooners. You talk about a new stadium like it’s such a big deal. Look, I want trophies and I want them now. I know that Portsmouth won the FA cup a few seasons ago and are now kaput. I am aware of Birmingham’s CC success and immediate relegation and I know of Wigan’s success. Why can’t Arsenal emulate these winners? They all clearly won trophies because they bought world class players which Arsenal, led by that clueless manager and world class miser, have failed to buy.

    On a serious note, it is truly painful that we haven’t won anything in 8 years but I think that we have come close on many occasions and ill luck among other things affected us. What the teams above had over us was luck. How did Man City lose to Wigan? They had world class players and like we did in 2011, they beat their conquerors home and away in the league!

    Trophies will come as long as we remain competitive which is what the board as made a priority.

  • bc

    I think we will get williams and he will form as good a partnership with vermaelen as mertesacker and koscielnys. Imagine being in a position to rest one set of full backs by calling on 2 international.captains!! Sure everyone is calling for another DM and seeing as diaby and frimpong are both injured I see their point. Once again arteta and ramsey is an excellent partnership, I feel that wilshire’s over zealousness to create and join the attack means he is not as good in that role as arteta and ramsey. But I believe coquelin and frimpong or yennaris would be awesome although I do see us making a signing in this department. I see wilshire pushing forward into the cazorla role or even at times playing wider as the way he cuts in from the right onto his favoured foot is awesome and I can also recall he played some great balls from the left in the past with accurate crosses and deliveries from set pieces. If we continue with 4231 I believe we will need another cf to rival giroud but in walcott cazorla podolski chamberlain wilshire rosicky diaby(when fit) we have some excellent attacking players to make up the 3. Let’s also not forget ryo campbell eisfeld sanogo aneke gnabry akpom afobe olsson who are waiting for their chance.
    I actually think we are going to make a real statement with two huge signings and some decent squad signings
    GK – Cesar
    RB – Sagna (will stay)
    CB – Williams
    DM – Gonalons
    CF – Cavani or Rooney

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    We have the basis of a championship contending team, our last ten games show that. We need to supplement the team not make wholesale changes. I am sure we will need replacements for those out of contract or those who have been on loan and can be encouraged to leave. I would expect us to bring in a number of squad players of better quality than those departing to give genuine competition to those featuring of late. I hope that we sign one ‘world class’ player as well as a clear sign of intent, who I haven’t a clue as there really aren’t that many around and we need to find one who is 1 – available; 2 – wanting to come to Arsenal and 3 – genuinely going to improve us as a team. I also expect that there will be some players for the future as there is a massive clear out of the U21s and U18s.

    There will be a lot of comings and goings but typically I would expect most of the “experts” to get it completely wrong, they usually do. So as fans we will have to be patient and not believe much of what is reported as ‘breaking news’ especially when reported as ‘exclusive’. It’s going to be a long testing summer with plenty of scope for those with agendas to push.

  • bob

    Andrew Crawshaw,
    Following up on your posting, would you rate Benteke, he of 22 years and 19 actual goals in his 1st EPL season? Yesterday he called for AFC to rescue him from Villa. (The agent and manager are hushing him, but would you fancy a play for him?)

  • Mandy Dodd

    really hope you are right and we do keep TV, the man had a bad patch, took a few for the team, but always liked him as a player. He is also loyal, he renewed when many of our top players, because thats what he is opted to do otherwise.
    Our game changed and TV maybe got caught out, but still think a few coaching and tactical tweaks could pay as many dividends as new signings in some cases. If we are playing a slightly different defensive game than the one TV was made used to, coach him on the new system, he certainly has all the attributes of the majestic Kos. We need more creativity, but the top players are going to be very hard to get this summer, even with the financial hand brake off…in relative terms. We can maybe make second tier, or below the radar signings, we can develop what we have. I know Wenger has rumoured to have been a bit against such things, but if there are coaching and tactical techniques that can gain a few percent, should we not be using them? Something has turned our defense around almost over night. Not trying to advocate showing a lack of ambition in the market, just trying to be realistic, appreciate what we have , what we can maybe get and how to get the best out of them.

  • rocksole

    What a bogus piece. Tlks bout kos nd then goes to verm. Then for a to gundagan. Omg. U really believe caught offside? Then again the arti goes bck to kos. Clear shit

  • @Bootoomee i am with you.
    Just to put AFC in the NEWS with this crap that kos is going and TV5.. Higuain, Jovetic are not coming. But Ashley W. And Benteke have shown interest. But the bigger problem is the Clear OUT of

    Chamahk, Santos, Squid, Bendtner, Djorou, Mannone or Fabianski, Ashavin, Park etc this wil be the Greatest Clear out in the History of Arsenal.

  • Bootoomee

    @ JustJoy,

    Player clear out is an idea that I thoroughly support. We need to let these guys go.

  • John

    GK Ceasar

    DM Wymanna

    CF Benteke


  • bob

    Yes! We can both advocate/wish for the great clear-out. Hopefully not a fantasy, n’est-ce pas? 🙂

  • Goona Gal

    The clear out is not just happening at the senior level, it also applies to the youth set up also. It’s been evident for sometime that quite a few of those guys weren’t going to make it through to the first team and with the introduction of the new rating system, Arsenal need to make sure the coaching and training is graded first class.

    In place of the departing Arshavin, Squillaci, Djourou, Chamakh, Santos, Park and quite likely Coquelin , I would definately like to see Aneke, Miyaichi, Miguel, Gnabry & Frimpong fully promoted to the first team.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Bob, I haven’t seen much of Benteke other than MOTD which is certainly not likely to be representative of his overall play. He has certainly had a significant impact in his first season in the Prem and for a relatively unfashionable team. He is now fluttering eyelids at us in the way that we have criticised ex Arsenal players (RVP, Nasri, Ade amongst others) so not sure about long term attitude. In terms of goalscoring ability he seems to have that (but i cant rember how many were against the top sox teams which is where we really need improvemt) and so is likely to be an upgrade on Gervinho at least. On balance therefore we would probably be stronger with him than without but I suspect he really isn’t the ‘world class’ player most fans would covet.

  • Goona Gal

    With regards to Vermaelen, I wouldn’t be up in arms if he left. I am on record saying at the start of last season, making him captain was a gamble as he wasn’t consistently good enough to be an automatic starter and wasn’t sure how he would react to being dropped from the team. The team’s vast improvement once he was dropped was no coincidence and despite whats publicly being said, I am not sure Verm has the character to stay and fight for his place in the squad. As well as rightly being officially being stripped of the captaincy (it should of course go to Arteta), he has to learn discipline and better positioning which has been missing from his game. Koscielny’s improvement also highlight’s how much Vermaelen hasn’t – to me last season wasn’t as has been described a ‘blimp’.

  • Asif

    I also think that Vermaelen leaving is a lot of bullshit…and the media to hype things up is adding to it by the Williams story. Even Williams joins…it will only help us strengthen the bench and does not necessarily mean that Verm has to leave…remember he renewed his contract in the same season in which Na$ri and Cesc left…he stayed…and Wenger also spoke something in the lines of ‘reinforcing faith.’ He loves the club and he needs to bid his time and I think he is an amazing defender and will surely give a fight to Per and Kos for a place in the starting Xl
    I have seen more stories of Verm’s departure than Bale’s. I have seen articles where columnist mention that Arsenal have set a dangerous precedence by celebrating 4th place and then there is this bastard Durham who even speculates that Wilshere will leave if Wenger keeps on preventing him from playing for England…I mean how silly can it get!

  • Arsenal1Again

    I like Vermaelen a lot, I’ve wanted a Vidic in our defence since I first saw Vidic at OT and Vermaelen was like the answer to my dreams. I am a huge subscriber to the think tank which underlines the utility of the best, in form players, and for this reason I am not sorry to see Vermaelen on the bench. I don’t think a benched Captain of the team gives the right signal though. I’m of two thoughts here, keep Vermaelen here if it’s true he’s going for as little as 5 million, especially since it’ll cost 3x that amount to replace him and probably a few seasons too. The other thought is the sacrifice of Vermaelen will leave a Captain vacancy for Jack to take. Yes, I know Arteta is the next in line and Arteta has been sensational for us, even when forced to play deep instead of forward like he prefers, like I prefer, but the simple truth is, I don’t care. The number one thing I want at Arsenal is a REAL CAPTAIN, not a captaincy given to players like Fabregas as an incentive to sign a new deal, etc. I want Jack Wilshere as the captain of my club and my country because anybody can see from looking – how all players react around him, including the likes of John Terry … especially our own players. I have taken close notice of what Scholes, John Terry, Lampard, Arshavin and big managers have said about Jack since he was 19 and it’s late for him to be a captain, it’s insulting that Adams and Fabregas became captains while younger than Wilshere when it’s clear he’s a better candidate than any Captain since McLintock.

    When Vermaelen got the arm band I envisioned Jack having to wait until he’s in his late 20’s which is terrible, but this situation opens an opportunity for Jack to become the Captain from next season. I would sacrifice Veramelen, Arteta and Cazorla as a package deal to give Wilshere the Captaincy, nothing frustrates me about Wenger more than his choice of Captains, well after some of the team selections and the turfing out of Merson, but I wouldn’t think twice about getting rid of Vermaelen just to free up the vacancy. If Vermaelen agrees to relinquishing the armband to a better candidate with his blessing and with honesty (no ill feeling), then I want our Belgian to stay.

  • Asif

    @Arsenal1Again – get some perspective son…you don’t need to sell someone to remove him from captaincy! You sound more like a Wilshere fan than an Arsenal fan…

  • Adam

    Off topic.

    If your child went missing, would you want the whole World to stop and look for them?

    Tomorrow 25th of May is Missing children’s day and I politely ask that you follow the link and donate if you can, this is a global event and charities dedicated to finding our missing children need you support.


  • Rob - sussex gooner

    Anyone have any views on converting TV5 to holding midfield in front of mert and kos?

  • AL

    This was always going to be a concern; that many players would be linked with Arsenal by the media the moment it was rumoured we had £70m in the kitty for potential signings, as well as the players that were dropped sometime towards the end of last season wanting to leave/be replaced. We are in for a long bumpy ride, till midnight on August 31.

    Having said this I would agree with Andrew Crawshaw that we need to supplement the team that’s clearly on a good run, rather than make wholesale changes. I think 3 new players tops would be ideal; one in each department(except goalkeeping).

  • AL

    By the way, thanks for sharing that link Adam, a worthy cause.

  • John

    POSSIBLE SQUAD FOR 2013/2014

    GK Szczcnesy/Cesear
    RB Sagna/Jenkinson …….SPARE Bellerin (Sagna can cover centre if needed).
    LB Gibbs/Monreal
    CB Kozzer, Mertersacker, Vermanlen, Miquel.
    CM Wymanna, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky.
    AM Cazorla, Wilshere
    RAF Walcott, Oxlade
    LWF Gervinho, Podoloski (both can cover CF)….. SPARE Garnby.
    CF Benteke, Giroud

    Benetke 15M performed in PL + target man and very good goal scoring record
    Wymanna 15M
    Cesear FREE

    30-40M spent on new players We have in excess 70M in the bank

    Arshivan , Squallaci, Watt and Park

    Bendtner, Djouoru , Chamakh, Santos, Frimpong, Mannone and Denilson
    15M Plus coming in

    Afobe, Ryo, Coquelin.

    Big wages savings possible 10M a year getting rid of huge playing staff we have at the club. 11 Out three coming in youth being promoted

  • I know that Mer & Kos have a great partnership going. But I still have my reservations about Mer. Especially when isolated, he has a turning circle & aceleration of a goods train. He allows the ball to bounce rather than attaching it. Lets hope they look at this coming season.

  • Dec

    There was a time when Koscielny was regarded as a dodgy defender and many here and on other sites expounded on his lack of awareness / tactical know how. In those data TV5 was our hero, the ultimate defender raiding forward to score many a vital goal. How perceptions can change. The truth doesn’t often change that much, Kos was in fact never as weak as some claimed ( thankfully his displays this season have proved that) and TV5 was probably not the superhero many hoped he was (nobody could be). They are both exceptional footballers and I hope both spend their careers at Les Emirates. The captaincy seemed to coincide with a dip in Tomas’ form (surprising since he had captained Ajax and Belgium before), don’t know if there’s anything off the pitch that might be to blame.
    He still remains an exceptional athlete and an intelligent player, I could see him doing a decent job in midfield ( a la Gilberto) . The armband might well be something he’d like to see on somebody else though. Arteta , Jack the obvious candidates.
    I’m bored of this Summer lark already.
    Roll on August.

  • Stroller

    I have a feeling that AW doesn’t place great stock on who is captain from a playing point of view. I think in the past he has talked about having 11 leaders on the field. If so then the captain role is more ceremonial involving off-field representation as much as leading the team on it.

    Of course we can all relate to the Tony Adams demonstrative style of captaincy, but how many of that type do we see today? Nowadays managers don’t sit in dugouts trying to convey messages to the team through a sergeant major figure on the pitch, they are up in the face of players on the edge of their technical areas, almost coaching them in play.

    The goalkeeper and back line have received criticism in the past for poor organisation and communication, but we don’t hear this these days having tightened up defensively. However, it would be harsh to put this all down to leaving out Vermaelen.

  • Bootoomee


    I get the joke and I like it. Of course we all have dreams and wishes. Halle Berry is my dream date:) Did you see my fantasy buys on the other thread? The difference is that I am not going to harangue anyone with my desire for player clear out and neither am I going to insult the management if it does not happen. Notice that I did not name names because I am not qualified to. I just think fringe and loaned players who do not fit into plans need to be sold for strictly economic reasons.

    Let’s all hope that whoever is brought in will bring needed skills and good fortune for the club.

  • AL

    Well said.

  • bob

    But you just named Halle Berry… maybe I/we missed something about your qualifications and where they lie!

  • bob

    On Mer, I think the defensive problem that you cite was in evidence in the first half at Newcastle. Like twice in a row he couldn’t handle the charge and was easily bypassed. Then it seemed to tighten up pretty well. I do see Mer having nous and commitment and really wants to be here, so all positives in that way. But without meaning to chill the joy of the Mer/Kos admirations hereabouts, there are still these issues that could slay us, depending on the competition. So, like you say, they’ll hopefully focus hard and solidify somehow.

  • Adam

    The big difference between our three main center backs is Vermaelen still gives away silly free kicks, whereas Koscielny seems to have learned the hard way.

    Can anyone explain to me why Mertesacker and Koscielny make a better partnership? because I’m at a loss as to why this is so. Both are predominantly right footed so you would think that Wenger would prefer a left footer on the left side?

    Another thing people miss, is that Vermaelen is the younger of the three but carries the responsibility of captaining our club.

    Personally I would like to see Djourou return to the club and play alongside Vermaelen, as I still think Djourou is a good defender and both can play that high line as they are both lightning quick. Maybe I’m being a bit sentimental but I have hope.

    I do however have to doff my cap to Mertesacker and Koscielny for their form of late and hope we haven’t seen the best of them yet.

    Question for anyone, will Jenkinson have to take a squad place this coming season or is he still under 21? What about Jack as well? Because by my estimate we have 6 spaces left of the 25.

  • Omojola

    @stevie u are clueless. Wigan,birmighan,pompey bought world class players? Man get a rest

  • Stuart

    I think Verm will bounce back, he is maybe just having a confidence issue which is not unusual (especially if your own fans boo the team). Was it not the Kosmaelen partnership that rear guarded the great escape a couple of seasons ago?

  • FunGunner

    I hope TV isn’t off – we need to maintain strength in depth. Kos has been unfairly maligned and TV over-praised but we should remember that when we were solid at the start of the season, TV was part of that. I think AW likes his aggression and he is very good in the air. Competition is good and this could bring the best out of all three CBs.

    I must say I can’t see him as a midfielder, though.

  • FunGunner

    @ Stuart
    Kosmaelen the Destroyer, as named by Siany Macalarny.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Adam, I have to disagree with your opinion on Djourou. Really not good enough. We’d be going backwards bringing him back.

    On a more important note I’d have thought UA would have been aware of this:

    We are always spouting on about our club being some measure of morals in a world full of turpitude, well if so I certainly don’t want my club having anything to do with Hoang Anh Gia Lai. This involvement shames our club.

  • Persian gunner

    I really don’t want to see TV5 going anywhere, as he is the last Arsenal player I can call myself a “fan” of. I love Santi or Artetta and Jacky boy is going to have a very special place in my heart in following days in future, but Verminator is something else!

    This is football you know, you watch Vermalen scores that astonishing goal against Newcastle in the last minute of the game, with that full ambitious celebration, and you fall for him! You can’t help it, actually no one can!

  • Norm

    I would not want TV to leave. His aggression and commitment has not been forgotten by me. It is difficult to describe his plummeting form – almost like he has never played football before; so poor has been his marking, positioning and passing. On Sunday it was evident, having a view from high in the stands, how well the back 4 played as a unit. I’m not sure that Williams would be any improvement. It is tempting to consider TV as a possible DM, but what would the player himself think about such a conversion. Arteta, is an obvious captain. Jack’s time will come. I voted for MA as my player of the year – technically good, high work rate and a real team focussed pro. My summer wish is still for that clinical finisher. I’m still a bit tempted by Villa, as it could be a Wenger extreme moment to pay up for a Higuain or a Jovetic.

  • bob

    Rupert Cook, Tony Attwood,
    The Vietnam tour, whilst (as all summer tours recently) is deemed a business priority/necessity. However, it is not only disruptive to team chemistry (witness last pre-season) but also disruptive to the high-road that AFC is long said to represent. Disaffiliating with this company – the co-sponsor for the upcoming Asia tour – would be refreshing in these times, and set our karma right (along with some game-changing purchases). Thanks to Rupert for the link:

  • Mandy Dodd

    Cannot think of anything good about that Vietnam tour except the chance for fans there to see the team

  • Norm

    Not my values or my perceived values of AFC. Have signed it and am spreading the word amongst friends. Thanks, Rupert.

  • Steve

    On another forum a list of strikers that are apparently for sale, the ones that are within Arsenals price range are either not good enough or over the hill. The ones who are out of Arsenals price range are the best ones!!!

    Typical negative Arsenal fan response in my opinion, it’s whoever we get isnt good enough but te one they know we can’t get are the ones we should get.

  • Ben

    I think it will not be a bad idea for Arsenal to get Schwarzer this time.

  • Arsenal1Again

    @Asif “If Vermaelen agrees to relinquishing the armband to a better candidate with his blessing and with honesty (no ill feeling), then I want our Belgian to stay.”

    I was as avid a fan of Brady just before he left and for the exact same reasons … Such players come along maybe once every 25 years or so and in this case I’ve had to wait 30 years. I think it’s understandable to want to see Jack stay at the Club until he retires from Football and with the Captaincy like I watched Adams do. That man is a pit-bull and he’ll die for the Arsenal cause. Name one single player you’ve been 100% confident to say this about other than Adams in the last 30 years? Precisely why Vermaelen, as great as he is, will continue to be expendable if it secures Jacks tenure. No way would Cazorla, Vermaelen or any other players in the current squad bleed Arsenal like Wilshere does, they don’t have the same loyalty, they’ll move tomorrow if the price is right. No such players have the value of Wilshere. Gareth Bale will leave Spurs soon because he isn’t a Wilshere. Look at Rooney at United, look at players in recent years like Van Persie, Henry, Vieira, Pires, all idolised by fans, all sung about, but it wasn’t enough … because they weren’t a Wilshere or Adams or an O’Leary. Honourable mention to Dixon too for retiring rather than wearing another shirt.

  • Stuart

    Sorry to be nit-picking but I think you might add Jenkinson to that list too.