Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has revealed that he is “fighting to convince” captain Laurent Koscielny to stay at the Emirates.
Koscielny, who refused to travel on Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the USA, wants a return to his homeland in France and has asked the Gunners to release him from his contract – one year before is is due to expire.
French side Rennes have reignited their interest in the 33-year-old but are yet to meet Arsenal’s valuation for and, like Koscielny, are hoping to get the player on a free.
However, Emery insists he is optimistic of persuading the France international to change his mind.
“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,” said Emery.
“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.
“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.”
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