Saturday, October 5, 2019

Koscielny reveals why he quit Arsenal as he responds to Ian Wright over 'shame' comments

The centre-back explained that he didn't feel he could cope with playing as many as 50 games a season and was happy to step "down a level" as a result


Former Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has explained his reasons for leaving the club and issued a response to Ian Wright, who criticised his decision to quit the Gunners.

The Frenchman brought an end to nine years at the Emirates Stadium this summer and made the move to Bordeaux, despite Unai Emery being keen to retain him for the 2019-20 season.

And the defender insists that he made the decision to leave due to concerns that he wouldn't be able to cope with the rigours of Arsenal's packed fixture schedule, and that he ultimately thought about his family and their needs.

He told L'Equipe: "A Premier League season is very long. It requires a lot physically and mentally. I didn't feel I could play 40-50 matches and I didn't want to end my career with injuries. I've gone down a level, but to take more pleasure.

"Either I finished there or changed clubs. With my family, we felt it was time. Everything was in my thinking: football, my physical state, my wife, my children, the daily life we could have.

"I can only say that I left with my head held high. All of those I worked with for nine years... everyone respected my decision to return home with my family."

Koscielny had refused to travel on the club's pre-season tour as he attempted to force through an exit from the Gunners, while he was criticised by some for his role in an unveiling video with new club Bordeaux.

In a clip released on social media following his switch to France, Koscielny is seen removing the Arsenal shirt to reveal the Bordeaux jersey he's wearing underneath, with former Gunners star Wright having been annoyed by the video.

He wrote on his Twitter page: "This hurts. The level of disrespect. You should be ashamed for the way you've left the club after nine years!

"Got what you wanted and still trying to have a dig. Hope it's worth it in the long run." The 34-year-old centre-back has now issued a response to Wright, defending his actions and insisting that he always gave his all to the north Londoners.

He said: "I've always been upstanding, respectful and loyal. I always gave my maximum. I spoke with the coach, who was understanding. And as for the rest..."

Bordeaux find themselves in seventh place in the Ligue 1 table at the start of the 2019-20 season, with Koscielny having played the full 90 minutes in all seven of their league matches to date.

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