Laurent Koscielny has handed Unai Emery a major headache by refusing to travel for their pre-season tour of America as he wants to quit the club. And the Gunners have now begun disciplinary proceedings against their own club captain after he stepped up his attempts to force a move away from the Emirates Stadium.
He is expected to be hit with a hefty fine, will be stripped of the captaincy and will be made to train with Arsenal’s kids after his decision to turn his back on his employers. The situation had been brewing for for some time with Arsenal chiefs knowing he didn’t want to travel, however they waited to see how the situation would come to a head ahead of the flight.
Koscielny wants to leave after nine years and return to his native France. Bordeaux want to sign the 33-year-old centre back with Lyon and Rennes also thought to be keen. He still has one more year on his current contract but he is pleading with Arsenal to let him leave on a free as a reward for his service so there no obstacles to his return. Sources have told Sportsmail Koscielny has been putting significant pressure on the club in a bid to get his wish. Arsenal have so far refused.
And while they recognise the service he has given they have no intention of letting him leave for nothing while he still has time left on his existing deal. The Gunners depart for their four-game tour of the States on Thursday lunchtime. They will face Colorado Rapids, Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Real Madrid in the US.
An Arsenal statement confirmed: ‘Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour. ‘We are 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.’ Koscielny’s desire to leave increases Arsenal’s need to bring in a new central defender this summer.
They are close to landing Frenchman William Saliba in a £27million deal from St Etienne but he will remain on loan at the French club for this season. Other than Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi is their only other senior centre back and Arsenal are open to offers for the World Cup winner.