Laurent Koscielny

Three centre-backs Arsenal could target to replace Laurent Koscielny

Koscielny’s time at Arsenal

Laurent Koscielny joined Arsenal in 2010 from Ligue 1 outfit, FC Lorient.

The Gunners are believed to have paid around £11.25m for Koscielny’s services.

During his nine-year stint in north London, the Frenchman has racked up a very impressive 353 appearances across all competitions, scoring 27 and assisting five in that time.

Koscielny has also helped to guide Arsenal to three FA Cup titles and three Community Shields.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 06: (L-R) Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista of Arsenal celebrate with the FA Community Shield after victory in the FA Community Shield match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 6, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Koscielny’s importance

While Koscielny is now 33 years of age, he has still proven to be a very valuable member of Arsenal’s squad.

This past season saw the centre-back fight back from a ruptured Achilles tendon to make 31 appearances across all competitions.

Koscielny is also Arsenal’s captain, and one of the few leaders in Unai Emery’s current squad.

However, on Thursday the 11th of July, Koscielny put his Arsenal future very much in doubt.

Arsenal’s Spanish head coach Unai Emery gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 5, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

Koscielny wants France return

The Gunners would announce their official travelling squad for their preseason tour of America.

One of the biggest names absent from the squad list was Laurent Koscielny.

Koscielny hasn’t been on international duty anytime recently, so his absence from the squad seemed quite strange.

Arsenal would then release an official club statement regarding the defender’s omission from the USA tour:

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.

It was then reported that Koscielny wants to leave Arsenal for free and go back to France.

Given the public way in which the Koscielny matter is being handled, it is unlikely that he will be playing for Arsenal next season.

This would be a huge blow to Arsenal’s already shaky defence.

After Sokratis, who is also getting on in years, Emery has very little talent available to him at centre-back if Koscielny leaves.

Arsenal do look to be closing in on a deal for young central defender William Saliba, though.

However, he will reportedly spent the 2019/20 season back on loan at St. Etienne.

As a result, Arsenal will likely have to sign another centre-back this summer. Here are three options.

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – MAY 29: Unai Emery the head coach / manager of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League Final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on May 29, 2019 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Fabian Schar

The first of these options is Newcastle and Switzerland centre-back, Fabian Schar.

Schar arrived in the North East last summer from Spain, and has made an instant impact at Newcastle United.

The 27-year-old featured in 24 league outings this past season for Newcastle, and was arguably their best defender.

The Magpies also maintained a solid defensive record in the PL throughout 2018/19.

Newcastle would concede 48 goals in the league, the best record of the bottom 11 clubs, and also less than both Arsenal and Manchester United.

In addition, now that Rafael Benitez has left the club, Schar may be more open to departing Newcastle this summer.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 10: Fabian Schar of Newcastle United arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and AFC Bournemouth at St. James Park on November 10, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Mario Hermoso

Mario Hermoso is currently honing his craft in Spain with Espanyol.

The 24-year-old joined the Periquitos on a free transfer from Real Madrid’s B team.

Hermoso has gone on to feature 59 times for Espanyol, and his excellent form also saw him called up to Spain’s senior side for their latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers.

After a superb 2018/19 season, Hermoso is reportedly attracting the interested of Atletico Madrid.

However, Spanish outlet Marca claims that Atletico do not want to pay the defender’s €40m release clause.

Instead, Atletico would prefer to wait until Hermoso’s contract expires in 2020, so that he can join them for free.

Therefore, if Arsenal are willing to pay his release clause, they could swoop in and steal Hermoso from under Atletico’s nose.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MAY 04: Mario Hermoso of RCD Espanyol celebrates their team’s third goal during the La Liga match between RCD Espanyol and Club Atletico de Madrid at RCDE Stadium on May 04, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Armando Izzo

The final player whom Arsenal could sign to replace Koscielny is Torino’s Armando Izzo.

Izzo has spent just one season with Torino, but he has been excellent for them, featuring in 37 of their 38 Serie A outings.

Izzo also helped Torino to keep a pretty tight defence throughout 2018/19 as they let in just 37 goals in 38 league fixtures.

Arsenal are reportedly already interested in Izzo, with reliable journalist Gianluca Di Marzio  claiming that the Gunners are ready to bid £25m for him.

Torino would also miss out on European football by three points this past season, meaning Izzo may be more inclined to join the Gunners, who will be plying their trade in the Europa League.

 

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