Laurent Koscielny gives verdict on Arsenal crisis as he explains summer exit

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Arsenal must find togetherness in order to work their way up the league, according to former captain Laurent Koscielny.

The former Gunners skipper forced his way out of the club in the summer by refusing to embark on the club’s pre-season tour of America which made for a bitter end to his nine-year stay.

The Frenchman said he wanted to return home and play for Bordeaux in the interests of his family life and demanded Arsenal to release him.

Koscielny’s deal ran until June 2020, however, and the Gunners were adamant they would only allow the centre-back to leave if they received a fee.

Bordeaux eventually paid up £4.6million for Koscielny, who has made 15 Ligue 1 appearances this season.

Koscielny has kept a close eye on proceedings at his former club, however, with a miserable season seeing the north London side currently sit 11th in the Premier League.

Much of the ill-feeling around the club stemmed from Unai Emery’s decision to had Granit Xhaka the captaincy, only to strip him of it after the Swiss lambasted fans who cheered his substitution against Crystal Palace at the end of October.

Thereafter, Emery decided to make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang club captain shortly before he was sacked, with Freddie Ljungberg taking caretaker charge.

“I am happy for him (Aubameyang) for being appointed captain at Arsenal,” Koscielny told French TV channel Canal Football Club, before sending a message to his former side.

“I wish them the best, even though they are in a pretty tricky period.

“But there you have it, it is in these moments where you see a team, a collective, ready to fight together to climb back up the pole!”

Koscielny also addressed his acrimonious exit which saw him lose the respect of some supporters.

“I can understand [why Arsenal fans didn’t understand my departure],” the 34-year-old said.

“Nobody anticipated my Arsenal departure. To keep it simple, I was not as happy as I was on the first day I signed.

“And then with my family we needed to return home, to have a new challenge for us.”

Koscielny was plagued by injuries in his last few seasons at Arsenal and his time in the treatment room contributed to his desire to leave.

“When you are recovering from an injury, you shut yourself off,” he said.

“You are selfish, because our drug is to be on the pitch, run, jump, tackle, make passes.

“And at one point or another you start to cast a lot of people aside. Certainly, I had crossed the red line when it came to that.

“To be able to become happy once again together, a return to France was the best solution.”

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