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July 2021

Laurent Koscielny: Arsenal. Francis Coquelin: Lorient

By Tony Attwood (on my birthday!)

Arsenal have provisionally struck a deal, subject to the usual personal terms, a medical and a cup of tea, with FC Lorient for centre back Laurent Koscielny, according to our pals at Young Guns.  (OK I know I keep mentioning that site, but as a source of accurate info it is unsurpassed, and if you are not reading it – after reading Untold of course – then you jolly well should be!) 

No fee details have been released although it is expected to be over €10 million euros with the usual extra bits relating to appearances for club and country, number of goals scored, number of commercials appeared in, number of ice creams melted, amount of champagne drunk…  (are you sure about this last bit? – editor.  Yes perfectly sure – editor.  Did you go out for a birthday bash last night? – editor.  Yes – editor.  Why are you talking to yourself? – editor.  Well, you know.)

Koscielny is 24, and he’s six feet one inch tall. He began playing as a professional as a full back at En Avant de Guingamp.  He moved into the centre when he joined Tours FC in 2007. In  2008/9 he scored 5 goals in 34 games playing in defence – mostly in the centre.

In May 2009, the National Union of Professional Footballers in France named Koscielny in Ligue 2’s team of the season and in June last year FC Lorient signed Koscielny on a four-year contract for around €1.5 million  – which means that within one year they have made a rather exciting profit.   He played 35 times last season and scored three goals.

Koscielny can play for France (wherein he would get the chance to stage walk outs, refuse to play and generally protest about stuff) or Poland.  Reports suggest he is in the process of applying for Polish citizenship, along with his French citizenship.

Which means (all being well, and the deal being done) we have

  • Vermaelen, Koscielny and Djourou as centre backs, with Song as a back up, back, if you see what I mean.
  • After that it is any one of Gallas, Campbell, Silvestre.

Then there is the option of someone coming through from the Golden 30 – maybe Nordtveit. We could even use Jay Emmanuel Thomas on the bench knowing he could play in any position in the event of half the team being kicked to death by Blackburn, Bolton and the like. You can read the whole   golden 30 list here.

And as regularly reported (and as is now confirmed on the Lorient official web site, (where even my uneven French can do a better job that Google’s auto translation software) are taking Francis Coquelin (who is not Polish at all, and has played for France at under-19 international level. He will be with the club next week when pre-season training starts.)

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There is speculation that the link with Lorient is the latest attempt by Arsenal to find a club with which it can develop serious relationships over the exchange and development of players – the deal with Salamanca seeming to have hit the dust.

I’ve been raving about Coquelin since he turned up in a pre-season game a couple of years back, and he is one of only a handful of players to have broken into the youth squad that did the double two years ago, without having been signed as a child.

Finally, a spot of detail about our new partners, if that is what they turn out to be…

FC Lorient

Lorient were formed as an amateur side in 1926.  They joined the regional third division, but progressed to join the Division d’Honneur in 1929.  (Division d’Honneur was the top league in France until 1933 when it was replaced with the national league, and French football moved to its modern form).

The club did not become pro until 1967–1977 but then became amateur again until 1988–1991.  Then they once more became amateur. In 1995 they took the plunge for the final time.

The club won the French Cup in 2002 and were finalists in the League Cup that year.  In the 2005/6 the club finished third in Ligue 2, and were  promoted to Ligue 1.

In recent seasons Lorient finished 14th, 10th, 10th and 7th.   Their full title is FC Lorient Bretagne Sud and they play in Lorient, Brittany.   I think.

Is the print on this screen jumping around rather a lot today, or is it just me? Editor.

Untold Arsenal type things

Read the book, its ever so good

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