In the wake of Robin van Persie’s ‘betrayal’, the announcement of Laurent Koscielny’s new contract is nothing short of a blessing for Arsenal. Last season, the wiry Frenchman was one of the Premier League’s most improved players. Indeed, he’s an integral member of the Gunners’ backline, especially due to the lack of depth in the area. So impressive was Koscielny’s defending, the mighty FC Barcelona stood up and noticed.
What if the Catalans pursued the ex-Lorient player similarly to Cesc Fàbregas? Admittedly, Koscielny is not a former La Masia product, and so Barcelona’s craving was never to be as strong. Nonetheless, once Barça come knocking, a club that seemingly guarantees trophies, it is likely a player would desire the ‘dream move’ to the glorious Camp Nou. However, Koscielny has other plans. To dismiss such interest, and positively sign fresh paperwork with the Gunners, shows great loyalty from the defender, who supposedly has the wish to enter the Arsenal Hall of Fame.
Following those who departed the Emirates unceremoniously, reeking of dissent, Koscielny’s confidence with Arsenal is a huge relief to Arsène Wenger. Last year, a seismic player exodus buried the club in a heap of rubble. Wenger, Le Professeur, faced intense pressure before Robin van Persie, most noticeably, dragged Arsenal to Champions League qualification. From apparent hero to villain, many today perceive the Dutchman as the detonator-button-presser to Arsenal’s rebuilding project. With RVP continuously pushing at the exit door, learning Koscielny’s intention to stay offers consolation to everybody associated with Arsenal.
Of course, Robin van Persie is hungry for silverware before the ‘twilight years’ come to the fore. By witnessing Arsenal’s competitors advance, whilst the Gunners continue a period of stagnation (since 2005), the striker has lost faith in the club’s ability to share his ambition.
But trophies aren’t everything, as suggested by Laurent Koscielny. That is not to say the defender will never hold a trophy aloft whilst at Arsenal, but to become a legendary figure is more important. Koscielny wants to imitate the true greats, such as Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira. Outsiders criticise the Arsenal faithful for accepting heroes too quickly. Whether they do or don’t, Koscielny could certainly be the next Frenchman to steal Arsenal hearts. A new contract is an excellent boost to such an aspiration.