Arsenal are facing a difficult battle to keep their key players this summer with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all entering the final year of their contracts. The Mirror report that another first team regular could be on the move, as Laurent Koscielny has emerged as a target for AC Milan.
The Italian club are set to rival Marseille for the 31-year-old and both teams will test the centre-back’s insistence that he sees his future in North London. Milan now have Chinese owners and they have already spent big this summer on a number of players. They view the Frenchman as the player they are missing in their back four. The report goes on to state that Manchester City have also watched the Gunners’ defender.
Earlier in the month, Koscielny had this to say on his future: “I have a contract with Arsenal, I even signed an extension last November until 2020. I feel very good over there.
“I have always said that I was a Marseille fan when I was younger. When a mythical club like Marseille contact you, it is good. But will I sign for them? I have no idea at all.”
Would this be a blow for Arsenal?
Absolutely. Arsenal supporters view the Frenchman as one of the best centre-backs in the division and they would find it difficult to replace him with the player of similar quality. This is due to them not being involved in next season’s Champions League. Shkodran Mustafi had a good first season, but there are doubts about the other options at the club.
Gabriel is error-prone and doesn’t deliver consistently enough to be considered a first-choice centre-back for a top club like Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are both promising talents, but it is too soon for either to be thrown in on a weekly basis. They need time to develop and learn from players with more experience, such as Koscielny.
Another complication will be whether Arsene Wenger wants to continue with a 3-4-2-1 formation. If he does, then it is imperative that he keeps the 31-year-old in North London.
Is he likely to leave?
It is difficult to judge at this stage of the summer. There have now been three teams linked to him by the media, but there have been no bids reported and it could be that the interest isn’t that serious at the moment.
AC Milan would be the biggest worry for Arsenal, as they are a huge club and remain able to attract top players, despite their recent struggles on the pitch. Their new ownership means that they can afford to bring Koscielny to the club and they may be prepared to break the bank to sign him.