Arsenal fans will likely be stunned on Thursday morning as the club have confirmed that stalwart Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel for their pre-season tour in the US.
As noted by the Mirror, the defensive ace has been linked with a return to France this summer as he enters the final 12 months of his current contract.
It’s unclear at this stage if that’s the reason behind the decision to refuse to travel, but as noted in Arsenal’s statement below, he will not accompany the rest of the squad when they head out Stateside to continue their pre-season preparations.
“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,” the statement read.
“We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”
It’s clear from that statement that Koscielny hasn’t been given permission to stay behind, and given the level of professionalism he has displayed and what he has meant to Arsenal for such a long time, it’s a real surprise that he would take such action to perhaps force through an exit ahead of the new season.
That hasn’t been confirmed as the reason behind his decision to refuse to travel though, and so until further clarification is offered, it remains to be seen if that is in fact why he has now risked disciplinary action.
Given Arsenal had one of the leakiest defences of the top nine sides in the Premier League last season, conceding 51 goals in 38 league games, the last thing that Unai Emery now needs is for his experienced centre-half to go AWOL on the eve of the new campaign to leave him short in that department unless new signings are made.