Arsene Wenger has been eager to praise fellow Frenchman, Laurent Koscielny’s development since being at Arsenal.
The centreback first become a Gunner in 2010 when we bought him for a measly price from Lorient. No-one knew who he was and Arsenal were going through a rough patch, trying to pay off the stadium while maintaining a level of quality.
I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted that the scrawny 24-year-old who looked decidedly anxious would turn into the defender he is today.
“He had a lack of experience when he came here. When I watched him, I saw the potential but he had a lack of experience, and with that he had a bit of a lack of confidence as well. Now he’s getting stature. He has pace, technique, understanding of the game and intelligence, as well as the needed confidence to play,” Wenger said.
The 29-year-old is now starts every match and has become one of our most trusted players. His pass success rate has improved from 74.9% at Lorient, to an average of 88.8% for us. His overall rating and defensive contribution has increased, while the amount of fouls he’s giving away has decreased. He’s also not received a single red card this season (via WhoScored).
The boss also seems the improvement in Koscielny’s game.
“He has developed and has gone through some difficult periods. That’s part of the development. Because he started late in his career, he had to gain that experience of being responsible.”
Koscielny – or ‘Lolo‘, as the rest of the team affectionately know him – embodies everything that Wenger stands for. He bought him for peanuts after seeing his potential and he developed him into an outstanding centreback. He’s a prime example of how the boss’s method still work. He hasn’t lost it, and now we’re in a position where we don’t have to sell on the players we’ve spent time developing – things are looking up.
The Arsenal manager added, “It’s really satisfying to see him fulfil his potential because he’s a player I bought from Lorient. When you listen to people, you always get names that everybody knows. Sometimes it’s rewarding to find people who have the quality to play for our club but are not necessarily the names that everybody else is after. He really has the level and it’s important as well that these players get the chance to play for us. When you make a successful buy you are always happy, because you think you have done something well for the club and that’s what you want to do.”