The way Laurent Koscielny left Arsenal this summer left a lot of people puzzled, insulted even. Very few would dare to believe that a captain, a player who appeared to have given his all for the shirt for nine years, would refuse point-blank to go on a pre-season tour and force his club into a parting of ways. Not only that, but he actually wanted the club to let him go for free despite still having 12 months on his contract. In the end, the club held their ground on the matter and eventually got €5 million for his services – a small fee perhaps, but his age and injury record don’t do much for his market value, in all honesty.
The 34-year-old centre-back wanted to return to France, that much is clear. He ended up going to Bordeaux, and the Ligue 1 club’s chairman Joe DaGrosa has offered some explanation on his decision.
DaGrosa says that the main reason behind Koscielny’s decision was the wish to be closer to his family. Apparently, he has close family in the area, and they managed to convince him that he would feel most comfortable, most at home – at Bordeaux. His desire “transcended wage issues”, DaGrosa claims.
Apparently, Bordeaux have also convinced the defender that his football future lies with them – for decades to come. It seems they’ve lined up another kind of a role for him, one he would presumably take on after his playing days are over.
If what DaGrosa says is true, one can’t help feeling a bit more understanding towards Koscielny and his decision to go back to his homeland, but it still feels like the information is incomplete.
Why this sudden outburst? Where was all this before – why wasn’t he able to discuss this issue with Arsenal through the course of last season? Why did he spring the decision on them like that, leaving them angry and confused?
One can only guess.