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Laurent Koscielny wanted to leave Arsenal with Arsene Wenger; injury made him stay: Agent

Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal defender

Bengaluru, September 6: Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny had planned to quit the Emirates in the summer alongside former manager Arsene Wenger but an injury forced him to stay, according to his agent.

Koscielny was stretchered off in distress during the Europa League semi-final second leg defeat against Atletico Madrid. Scans later revealed that he had suffered a torn Achilles tendon. The injury cost him a place in France's World Cup squad but according to his agent, the injury also stopped him from considering a move elsewhere.

According to the player's agent, Stephane Courbis, several Ligue 1 clubs were interested in the player with Lyon, Monaco and Marseille all making proposals along with some rich offers from Chinese sides. But having been declared six months out of the game in May following the injury, the defender chose to stay.

Speaking to France Football, Courbis discussed the injury. He said: "When he banged the floor with his hand, I immediately knew that it was serious, that it was over.

"Everything at that moment went through my mind, including the worst, which was validated when it emerged that it was an Achilles rupture and that he would miss the World Cup. Laurent was perhaps playing the final matches of his Arsenal career.

"He started thinking about a possible departure from Arsenal at the same time as Arsene Wenger. It was the right moment, the final moment to leave with the arrival of the new manager. I had already anticipated this, with two or three offers that were starting to make us think.

"We were open to different options, China as much as France. He could not see himself playing for an English team other than Arsenal. Since the approach from Marseille least season, the notion of returning to Ligue 1 entered his thinking. It was a genuine possibility."

The defender, who will turn 33 in this month, has recently started light training again and is expected to start full training in November ahead of a possible return to action around the turn of the year.

The French centre-half has been with the North London club for the last eight years and has registered his name as one of the toughest defenders in the English Premier League since moving to the Emirates in the summer of 2010 from French club Lorient.

Koscielny signed a long-term contract extension last season which tied him to Arsenal until 2020 but has recently hinted that it might be his last contract at Arsenal.

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    Story first published: Thursday, September 6, 2018, 14:01 [IST]
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