By Russell Edge
Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is being eyed up as a potential summer signing by French side Olympique Marseille, according to a report.
French football programme Telefoot, on channel TF1, claim that the 31-year-old is viewed as a transfer target by the French club, who, like their North London counterparts, sit sixth in the league table.
Centre-back Koscielny has been a key part of Arsene Wenger’s side this season, having made 40 appearances for the Gunners, as well as managing to find the back of the net twice.
Koscielny was one of three players who committed to long term contracts with Arsenal back in January, as confirmed on the club’s official website, with the Daily Mail reporting he is contracted until 2020.
This means that the Gunners will be able to demand a much higher fee for the 6’1″ (186cm) defender, should Marseille or any other team enquire about his availability.
Losing the 44-time-capped France international would leave Wenger limited with options at the heart of defence, with Shkodran Mustafi, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel his only other centre-backs.
Football Insider verdict:
To lose Koscielny to Olympique Marseille would be a huge blow not just to Arsene Wenger, but to the credibility of the club. The French centre-back has proven himself as one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers and with seven Premier League seasons under his belt, brings a wealth of experience to this Gunners side. Wenger is unlikely to want to let him leave, so his departure could signal a lack of faith in the club’s progress from one of their longest serving stars. Furthermore, it is not like Marseille are in a title race, or even competing in Europe – they are sixth. However, a move back to his homeland might be enough to convince Koscielny to leave North London in what would be a bitterly disappointing transfer blow for the Gunners.
In other Arsenal news, Tottenham fans reacted to Arsene Wenger’s antics on Twitter.