Saturday, 13 July 2019

The real reason Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny went on strike

Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has refused to take part on the club’s pre-season tour of America (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny went on strike in the belief the club had priced him out of a potential return to France.


The 33-year-old stunned Unai Emery when he informed the Spaniard he was refusing to take part in the club’s pre-season tour of America having reported for training earlier this week.


Emery reacted furiously and immediately informed Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi, who sanctioned the decision to publish a statement condemning Koscielny’s actions.


It read: ‘Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour.


‘We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions.


‘We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.’


Arsenal subsequently flew to the States without their long-serving centre-half who will now train with the Under-23s while a resolution is sought.


Koscielny, who has 12 months left on his current deal, wants to return to France after nine years in north London, amid interest from the likes of Lyon and Bordeuax.


ESPNFC claim Arsenal want £10m for their want-away skipper, a fee which is likely to put off Koscielny’s suitors given he turns 34 in September and only recovered from a career threatening Achilles injury, which kept him out for eight months, back in December.


The former Lorient defender is also said to feel his playing schedule was mismanaged following the injury he suffered during the 2018 Europa League semi final second leg against Atletico Madrid, and is dismayed at the direction in which the club is headed.


Arsenal have signed only Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli so far this summer and risk losing long-term target William Saliba after Tottenham made a late attempt to hijack a deal that was on the verge of completion.


A move for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney also appears to have stalled, while attempts to prise Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace have failed after a £40m opening offer was rejected, while the Eagles are not interested in any of the players Arsenal were willing to offer up in part exchange.


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