Arsenal boss Unai Emery still thinks there is a chance Laurent Koscielny will remain at Emirates Stadium, despite ongoing transfer speculation.
The Frenchman refused to travel with the Gunners squad for their pre-season tour of the United States and wants to secure a return to his homeland before the start of the 2019-20 campaign.
Arsenal opened disciplinary proceedings against their captain, who has not seen a single minute of action on the pitch since expressing a desire to leave, but the August 8 transfer deadline is closing in quickly.
Ligue 1 outfit Rennes have declared their interest in Koscielny but have not yet submitted a suitable bid, with the veteran defender now stuck in limbo.
Emery is still hoping a key star will perform a transfer u-turn in the coming days, with Arsenal short on options in defence ahead of the new season.
As per Sky Sports, the Gunners boss addressed the media on Wednesday: “Now it is between the club and him. I fight to convince him, but I respect his decision, a very personal decision, and that situation can only manage with one argument.
“I haven’t lost my hope that he will be with us next year. But at the moment his decision is to leave and we are also thinking if we can improve with other players and how we can help with him.
“But at the moment his decision is to leave and we are also thinking if we can improve with other players and how we can help with him.”
Emery added: “With respect, it’s better for us, it’s better for the team, and it’s changing our idea with the centre back because if he is here with us this season, it’s very different than if he isn’t with us.
“At the moment it’s a very personal decision, and we are respecting that. I am speaking with him and we are going to find the best solution, but overall we need a player like him.”
Arsenal conceded a whopping 51 Premier League goals last season, finishing fifth in the final standings and outside of the Champions League places.
Keeping hold of Koscielny will be essential to their chances of a return to Europe’s elite competition, but it remains to be seen whether or not Emery’s words will have struck a chord with the France international.