Many Arsenal fans are seemingly worried about the fact that the new Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez has become interested in signing our very own Laurent Koscielny as a replacement for the departing Sergio Ramos. We all agree that Kos has one of very best players for a long time, but as the Frenchman is now 29 years-old you have to admit that a reported price of £21 million is very hard to ignore.
Not long ago we found out that the top German central defender Benedikt Howedes was being targeted by Arsene Wenger, before signing a new contract extension with Schalke, but now perhaps we have found out the real reason why Arsenal are in the market for another centre-back?
Now before everyone jumps down my throat saying that we should keep ALL our best players at whatever the profit, I would have just one thing to say – “Thomas Vermaelen”. Everyone was annoyed that Wenger sold TV5 to Barcelona last summer without getting a replacement, but Le Prof’s decision was vindicated by the fact that Vermaelen didn’t actually get a game for the European Champions until the final month of the season.
Perhaps Wenger was well aware of the extent of the Belgian’s injury, or perhaps not, but the fact is that we banked £10 million – and an old and injured player was removed from our wage bill. This is why I believe that Wenger would certainly consider selling Koscielny this summer. As evidence I would point you towards something our manager said earlier this season, when Koscielny came down with his Achilles injury the second time (in December).
“I have to consider the fact he has an inflamed achilles and nobody can guarantee that will not come back,” Wenger said. “No doctor says to me: ‘It’s over.’ It can come back. Even with complete rest, you need to rest him for two or three months.”
Wenger did rest Koscielny for eight weeks from early October. “But he didn’t rest completely,”
“Because you have to load your achilles and strengthen, it is not a complete rest. To find back the strength in the achilles, you have to load it and work on it.”
“If everybody is fit and available, we don’t need to go on the transfer market,” Wenger continued. “But we have to consider there could be a question mark with Koscielny’s fitness and we have to go out on the transfer market.”
And so he did. Gabriel Paulista arrived in January, but Wenger continued to play Koscielny as often as possible, risking another injury setback. But with an impressive Gabriel now integrated into the team and speaking English, perhaps Wenger believes he can now offload the man he was brought in to replace, and at a very very good price?
Wouldn’t you sell a player that you thought might get a flare up of his ongoing injury at any time?