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Unai Emery hints at defender’s departure while discussing Arsenal’s captaincy

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has entertained the possibility of Laurent Koscielny leaving the club while discussing Arsenal’s leadership for the upcoming season.

Koscielny has been a defensive stalwart for Arsenal having made 353 appearances for the Gunners, which is the fifth most for any foreign player.

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He missed most of last season due to an Achilles tendon injury sustained in a Europa League match against Atletico Madrid the previous campaign. However, Koscielny managed to make 29 appearances under Emery, as the Gunners reached the Europa League final.

Just days ago though, Arsenal released a statement on their official site confirming that Koscielny refused to travel with the squad for their pre-season tour.

Emery feels that there is a chance that Koscielny might leave the club. While talking about Arsenal’s leadership situation ahead of their International Champions Cup fixture against Fiorentina, the Spanish tactician said as quoted by ESPN: “I want one English player in these five captains. Last year [Granit] Xhaka, Mesut [Ozil] and Nacho [Monreal] were working as captains. But after Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech left — and possibly Laurent Koscielny — I will want more.

“An English player who grew up in our academy can understand the English spirit and Arsenal values. These are the qualities and more [we want].

Centre-back Rob Holding did not play in Arsenal’s academy but he has been with the club for a few years now and is old enough to take a leadership role. Holding made only 16 appearances for the Gunners last season as a knee injury cut his campaign short.

About Holding, Emery said: “We are really happy with his [Holding’s] progress. We need his performances as a centre back. [Before] he had his injury he was really playing with big performances.”

Arsenal have begun pre-season well with wins over Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich. Their next match is against Fiorentina on Saturday.

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