Arsenal have swung into action and are ready to launch a bout of contract renewals. Talks with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil have been ongoing for several weeks and now the Gunners want to tie down Laurent Koscielny with a new deal. According to reports, the Frenchman is close to agreeing a new deal with Arsenal.
With his contract expiring next summer, the £70,000 a week French international is free to talk to other clubs from January. Given that the centre back is in the best form of his career, Arsenal are keen to renew a deal which will run through to 2020.
It’s an emphatic signal that Arsène Wenger’s age restriction policy is at an end. Over-30s at Arsenal used to only be offered one-year rolling contracts as the Frenchman mistakenly believed that their best days were behind them. Even a player of Dennis Bergkamp’s quality endured the situation at a time when the team was desperate for experience.
In what can only be described as a massive U-turn, Wenger is prepared to give out another four years to his compatriot. With Per Mertesacker in the same situation but seemingly heading to Bremen this summer, it’s vital Arsenal secure Koscielny’s signature otherwise they will be left short of experience in the centre of defence once again.
Koscielny has formed an impressive partnership with Shkodran Mustafi, the £35m signing from Valencia this summer. The German adapted quickly to the Premier League and the pair play in a complementary style, pacey and good in the air. It’s allowed Arsenal to play higher up the pitch to good effect.
Crucially, Koscielny has lost the confidence-sapping errors which blighted his early years at the Emirates. He was an own goal or red card – sometimes both – waiting to happen. Now his timing in the tackle is impeccable and his stature in the dressing room recognised by his elevation to captain as Mertesacker recovers from the knee injury he sustained during the pre-season friendly in Lens.