New favourites emerge for Koscielny as Ligue 1 suitors step aside

Date published: Tuesday 23rd July 2019 11:40

Rennes have withdrawn themselves from the running to sign want-away Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny.

The 33-year-old was due to fly out to the USA with the rest of the Gunners squad earlier this month but the club announced that the defender would not be travelling.

It is understood Koscielny, whose contract runs until next year, made it clear to the club that he wished to be released this summer in order to sign for another club.

But Arsenal stood firm and refused to grant the former France international a free transfer with Unai Emery pleading with the Frenchman to go on the club’s tour.

There were reports over the weekend that a deal had been agreed that would see Koscielny swap Arsenal for Rennes.

And now Rennes president Olivier Létang says the Ligue 1 side haven’t been in touch with Arsenal since mid-June, let alone agreed a deal.

“We learned about [the so-called agreement] like you,” Létang told Foot Mercato. “Even my son told me it seems Koscielny is on his way.

“I told him that was false. He’s a good player with a lot of experience at international level.

“We met him twice last year. When we heard there was a chance he could leave in early June, we called Arsenal to ask if that was true because we could be interested.

“Around mid-June, they got back to us and told us they wanted to renew him. He wasn’t for sale.

“We haven’t had any more talks with the player. We have great respect for other clubs. We can’t talk with a player if the team don’t want him to leave, so I can say what came out this weekend is false and isn’t current.

“No, we haven’t spoken to Arsenal since mid-June. For me, there’s no point talking with the player if the door isn’t open.”

Bordeaux are understood to be favourites to sign the defender with coach Paulo Sousa admitting his interest in the player.

“I have already said it, he is not our player,” Sousa told reporters. “He is a player that every team would like to have because of his experience, the quality of his play and everything that he represents in football.

“We are in the market for central defenders because Jules Koundé has left and so we are looking for another player to replace him. All talks are ongoing but once again he is not our player.

“We are working hard to give ourselves the chance to have a player with his characteristics.”

 

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