Laurent Koscielny is refusing to go on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the USA, according to an official club statement.
Arsenal released the statement on Thursday morning, confirming that Koscielny was refusing to travel with the squad.
The club said they’re “very disappointed” by Koscielny’s decision, which directly disobeys their instructions to him. They added that they “hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time”.
Koscielny still has a year left on his Arsenal contract, but according to reports, he’s asked the club to allow him to leave on a free transfer so he can return to France.
After Arsenal spent most of 2018 helping to rehabilitate Koscielny after his Achilles injury, the centre-back made 31 appearances for the club between his recovery and the end of the 2018/19 season.
The Frenchman is the club captain and he’s spent nine years in North London, so for him to act in this way is surprising, embarrassing and it sends a terrible message to everyone else in the squad.
If the reports about his desire to leave are true, the 33-year-old is also being ridiculous. There’s no reason for Arsenal to let a player with a year on his contract leave for free.
If a reasonable bid comes in, that’s a different story, but you can’t just cancel your own contract without compensation. If Koscielny leaves, Arsenal need to replace him, and they can’t do that without any money. Koscielny knows this, so his actions are pathetic.