Even though Arsene Wenger’s pair of new signings over the past week have undoubtedly calmed most nerves, not all issues appear to have been addressed at the Emirates stadium. For a player the magnitude of Laurent Koscielny to be entering the final year of his contract without much concern publicly displayed by the club is becoming very alarming.
The likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez may have their own contractual incompletions, but Koscielny’s situation could have more immediate effects than anyone else’s. While Ozil and Sanchez still have a contract with Arsenal which does not expire until June 2018, the same cannot be said of Koscielny who could choose to say goodbye at the end of this season as a free agent.
The frightening part is that we have been here before with players who are entering either the final months or years of their Arsenal deals and no lessons appear to have been learned from the disputes which saw Robin van Persie and Bacary Sagna go from fans’ favourite to former Gunners within the stretch of a season.
Back in the fall of 2011, few paid attention to Van Persie not renewing his deal at the beginning of what turned out to be his last year at the club and in late 2013, Sagna’s delayed new contract talks did not bother too many. We assumed they would go on to sign new deals back then and we seem to be assuming Koscielny will go on to do the same now.
Yes, new contracts do require some time to negotiate and finalise, sometimes much longer than actual transfer deals, but we are now in September and by FIFA rules, Koscielny could even forge a verbal agreement with any club of his choice in as early as January if he does not plan to sign an extension with the Gunners.
Arsenal have always maintained a long-standing club policy of being reluctant to offer players over the age of 30 big new deals and that may well be the reason behind Koscielny’s delayed re-commitment. After all, the 30-year-old France international has become one of the Premier League’s household names and is likely to feel he can attract a better offer from elsewhere if Arsenal are still dithering over the value of his new deal.
Sadly, the gut feeling is that Koscielny has made up his mind to not remain at Arsenal and we may be watching the last of him without even realising it.