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Opinion – Arsenal should hold onto this 33-year-old veteran amidst interest from Barcelona

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Arsenal should definitely hold onto Laurent Koscielny

According to the Mundo Deportivo, Arsenal defender and captain Laurent Koscielny has been attracting interest from Spanish champions Barcelona over the last few days. The French defender suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon in May and hasn’t played since.

But he has played a pivotal role for the Gunners over the years and that’s exactly why new manager Unai Emery should hold onto him. The Spanish coach has so far done a brilliant job at the Emirates but is yet to field the Frenchman in his team. He was also unable to play for Didier Deschamps’ France team that went on to lift the World Cup in Russia.

Though the Frenchman has been out for a considerable amount of time, there’s no denying that he is their best centre-back and arguably their best defender in the squad. Arsenal are currently utilizing Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding as their central defenders.

Laurent Koscielny

The latter has shown great potential though he is not experienced while the former seems to be inconsistent. Unai Emery acquired the experienced Sokratis from Borussia Dortmund in the summer but none of these players possesses the experience and know-how of the Premier League like Koscielny does.

Since making the move to the Emirates in 2010, the 33-year-old has gone on to make a total of 238 Premier League appearances, scoring 19 goals and providing 2 assists in that time. He has marshalled their backline for the longest time. Koscielny is the leader they need and the voice of motivation in the squad. (Stats courtesy – Premier League)

Rarely do you find defenders like him who are stoic, agile and comfortable with the ball at his feet. The centre-back is also a hard man to get past. Koscielny has averaged a tackle success rate of 71% during his time in the Premier League. (Stats courtesy – Premier League)

The Frenchman may be relatively short for a centre-back, standing 6 ft 1 inch tall, but that has barely posed a problem for Koscielny. He is extremely aggressive and strong in his approach. Koscielny is also known for his happy habit of popping up with important goals. He is often seen daunting forward for corners and loves to have a go from outside the box as well.

What makes him even more enticing is his ability to command the defence and maintain their line. There’s no doubt the Gunners are a lot more impenetrable when Koscielny is in the line-up. That’s the kind of difference he makes to the team.

Read more: 57 passes, 100% tackle accuracy – Arsenal linchpin’s numbers in the 1-1 draw vs Liverpool look ridiculous

There’s no doubt that the Frenchman will regularly feature for Arsenal once he’s back, but with Gerard Pique and fellow French compatriot Samuel Umtiti currently occupying the central defence, there’s no guarantee the 33-year-old will receive the regular game time. It could end up being another case of Thomas Vermaelen.