Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was ruled out for six months after undergoing surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon. The French international is expected to return at the end of the year, but supporters aren’t holding their breath.
Koscielny’s suffered with a chronic achilles injury for many years, undergoing treatment every daily to keep the issue in check, but he’s had a major setback after rupturing his tendon that he may not ever recover from. He played only 25 of Arsenal’s 38 Premier League games last season and could feature in even less this campaign.
The 32-year-old joined Arsenal from Lorient in 2010 and has gone on to make 324 appearances in all competitions, winning three FA Cups. Koscielny has been a terrific servant for the club, but his time at the Emirates could be coming to an end.
New manager Unai Emery signed Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund this summer and he could well partner Shkodran Mustafi at the heart of the defence this season. It’s unlikely Emery will put square pegs into round holes like Arsene Wenger did – Nacho Monreal at centre-back – so Koscielny could see his place permanently taken in the defence.
His contract with Arsenal still has two more years to run, but if he spends the majority of this season sidelined with injury, retirement could be a genuine possibility. Sokratis’ signing was almost certainly in response to Koscielny’s injury as the Gunners needed more experience at the back in his stead.
With Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Konstantinos Mavropanos for back-up options at the heart of the defence, bringing in an experienced head was the right idea. Sokratis may help Mustafi be focused and positionally aware, as Holding and Chambers wouldn’t have been marshalling the defence in the same fashion last season.
Koscielny will be a big loss to Arsenal, but they’ve had eight years out of him and saw him rise to the heights of being one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League for a period. With the centre-back’s return likely to be in the new year, Emery won’t throw Koscielny into the first-team mid-season unless the defence are under-performing.
Arsenal desperately needed a new face at the back after conceding 51 goals in 38 games last season and Sokratis’ 198 appearances for Dortmund should make him a good fit. Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat made signing a centre-back a necessity, but the club didn’t plan for Koscielny’s injury.
Will fans see much of him this season?