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Koscielny- the right man for the job?


By Basil James.

Arsenal and its fans are pretty euphoric after Laurent Koscielny joined the Gunners roster for £10 million. After a massive exodus of central defenders, the club badly needed a couple of able players to play in that position. Laurent Koscielny is supposed to be a step in that direction.

Koscielny’s arrival has been compared to that of Thomas Vermaelen’s last season. A relatively unknown player with loads of talent from one of the so called lesser leagues. If Koscielny can impress in his first season at the Emirates, the resemblance would be complete. But can Koscielny come up to the Premier League standards? Will he be able to match up to the frantic pace of the most competitive league in Europe? These are questions I feel Gooners should ask more often than they are doing right now.

Koscielny’s talent is undoubted. The very fact that he has risen from relative obscurity of a Ligue 2 team to a £10 million transfer to Arsenal in just about three years indicates the vast amount of talent and quality he possesses. He has already been training with the Arsenal squad for quite some time now and must be familiar with the team and the Arsenal style of play. Undoubtedly, a good prospect. However, I still harbour a few reservations against the player.

Koscielny can’t, by any standards, be described as experienced. In a  squad of bustling youngsters with fine technique, an experienced and mature head would have gone a long way in strengthening the squad. Right now, Laurent stands out like hay in a haystack. Old argument, I know. But nevertheless a valid one. The experience I am talking about is not merely that of age and matches played. Look at Vermaelen. A product of the famed Ajax academy, he travelled the regular path of being loaned out before cementing his place as a regular first team player at Ajax. He won four trophies in the space of two years as a regular player at Ajax and was even the captain for a significant part of the 2008-09 season.

When he came to Arsenal, people like me wondered whether he would be up to the Premier League standards. One area where Vermaelen got lucky was the presence of William Gallas. Gallas may not be the easiest person to get along with, but what he certainly has is a wealth of experience and talent. Partnering Gallas in center of the defence, Vermaelen had a model and a mentor he could look up to. Vermaelen certainly learned a lot of lessons from Gallas and credit to him, he was a quick learner. Thus we had a phenomenal success story in Thomas Vermaelen.

Vermaelen is currently our only tried and tested center back. If Koscielny is to partner him in defence, I wonder whether Koscielny would have the same advantages Vermaelen had. Is Vermaelen experienced enough to guide Koscielny through the rigours of the league while maintaining the same standard of play he exhibited last season? Would Koscielny be suddenly thrust out in to the rough sea of Premier League football? How would his lack of big frame affect his performance in the League? These are questions that would be only be answered once the season has started and progressed for a few months.

Meanwhile, Wenger is in the market for one more center back. I chanced upon a report that Wenger was in talks with the Algerian defender Rafik Halliche. Seriously Arsene, is he the man for you? He had an ordinary World Cup, a decent showing in the Algerian defence, but nothing spectacular to effect a transfer based on the Cup performance alone. If we are to look at the World Cup alone, one would chance upon many defenders who are better than Halliche. Offhand, I can think of John Mensah, the Rock of Gibraltar, who plies his trade with Lyon and Diego Lugano, who plays for Fenerbahce.

Do you think Koscielny can be an impressive player for Arsenal in his first season?



  1. Anyonebutengland

    July 9, 2010 at 9:32 am

    What would you know? Wenger has olbviously been watching this lad for all of last season, girmandi too so if they both think he’s good enough then im happy ya sack

    • Aaron

      July 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      I’m still in shock the far superior Gallas was released for nothing, and £10 million spent on the inferior Koscielny. Beyond belief, Arsene needs a slap, who spends £10m on downgrading a CB!?

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  3. George

    July 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

    You must only be interested in counting the number of readers you get. Do you get off on the notion that people are reading what you write? What a waste of my time!!! To whom else are you going to offer your advice, Sir Alex, Carlo Ancellotti?…..nah….just keep it to Sam Allardyce!

  4. cinjo

    July 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Anyway, Wenger paid 10 million for one player.
    He paid 10 million means he is worthy.
    He paid 10 million for a defender means, he will be great player. See Vermalen as an example.

  5. More-than-the-average-joe

    July 9, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    look to Vermealen for your answer ..virtually unknown as of last year ..PFA team of d season ..

  6. Danny Boy

    July 10, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Have you ever actually seen this guy play? You seem to make a lot of assumptions that Arsene and the team would have thought about before signing him. He may have been criticised for not investing much over the last few years, but Wenger’s track record in the transfer market is unrivalled and as an Arsenal fan im confident he’ll turn out to be a decent player.

    On the point of Haliche- if we judged players on their World Cup performances then we’d conclude that De Rossi, Ronaldo, Torres, Gerrard and whole looad of others were crap and Mesut Oezil and a few others who we’d never heard of before are the best players in the world. You can’t judge players on the World Cup alone – case in point El Hadji Diouf, he had a decent tournament in 2002, Liverpool paid £10million and he turned out to be complete rubbish. If we sign Haliche, it will be because of his potential and other attributes, not his World Cup performance

  7. Goonerforever

    July 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Everyone, I thing we should take another look at that article. The guy may be slightly loony, but he admits that Koscielny is talented. All he is doing is questioning the experience of koscielny. Her might hav a point there. I seriously think Wenger shouldnt understate the experience factor in the squad again.

  8. luciano

    July 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    please please arsene wenger buy alex from chelsea . d bent or c cole and f melo

  9. Alex Mac

    July 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    As a life long Arsenal supporter im starting to get sick of wengers lack of spending. We need big premier league players if we want any chance of winning silverware. Lets put our recent signings into perspective – Marouane Chamakh scored 10 league goals in 30 starts in the franch league 1, hhhhhmmm, Not convinced!!! (Good job he came on a free)
    Laurent Koscielny – The man in question, Came from Lorient – Finnished 7th in the french league Looks extremely lightweight for a center half – Again not convinced.
    So again, 10 million has been spent, Is this a good enough return for Arsenal suppoters who pay over a thousand pound a year for a season ticket.
    Wenger Spend Some F**king money on Proper players!!

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