Arsenal Under Pressure to Persuade Koscielny to Stay
By Matt Law | Daily Telegraph | Published: 17th April 2014 09:37 AM |
Arsenal must fight off interest from Paris St-Germain, Monaco and Bayern Munich to convince Laurent Koscielny to sign a new contract.
Koscielny has been Arsenal's most consistent player this season and has developed into one of the best central defenders in the Premier League.
His form has alerted PSG, Monaco and Bayern Munich, with all clubs aware Koscielny is on relatively modest wages of around pounds 50,000 a week at the Emirates Stadium. That is less than defensive partner Per Mertesacker, who signed a pounds 90,000-a-week deal last month, and Thomas Vermaelen, who earns pounds 70,000 a week.
Arsenal want to address Koscielny's salary with the offer of a new contract and a wage rise to match Mertesacker on pounds 90,000 a week, and remain hopeful that he will commit to the club.
PSG, Monaco and Bayern are all carefully watching the situation, and are prepared to offer Koscielny bigger deals than Arsenal. Sources in France also claim that Manchester United are interested in the 28-year-old.
PSG and Monaco are both in the market for a central defender this summer. PSG are also interested in Chelsea's David Luiz.
Pep Guardiola, the Bayern manager, has been a fan of Koscielny since he was in charge at Barcelona.
Failure to win the FA Cup or qualify for the Champions League may make Koscielny seriously consider his future, while, like everybody at the Emirates Stadium, he is keen to see whether Arsene Wenger, the manager, signs a new contract.
Last year, Koscielny, who joined Arsenal from Lorient in 2010, made his desire to win silverware clear by saying: "I want to lift trophies and to have a winning record. I hope the club will give me the means. If this weren't the case, I'd look elsewhere. I want to win titles and I hope the club have the means.
"I feel good at Arsenal and if the club can compete with the best, I have no reason to leave. But if it fights every year for Champions League qualification it's hard psychologically to be under such constant pressure."
Koscielny is contracted to Arsenal to 2017, having signed his last deal in 2012, which means interested clubs would have to bid well over pounds 20 million for the French international.
With Vermaelen's future in the balance - his contract expires in 2015 - Arsenal are already considering signing at least one new central defender.
Wenger was boosted by the return of Koscielny from a calf injury to help Arsenal defeat West Ham on Tuesday night and keep the club's Champions League hopes alive. "It was massively important to win because we want to play Champions League football," Koscielny said.
"Now we will just focus on our four games and see where we finish at the end of the season. We know Everton play against big teams. We know that Everton are playing well but we will see."
Arsenal are also in contract negotiations with Bacary Sagna and have not given up on convincing him to stay. Sagna has been the subject of interest from Manchester City, Inter Milan and Galatasaray, and has turned down a series of offers from Arsenal with his current deal due to expire at the end of this season.
Arsenal are prepared to bow to 31-year-old Sagna's demands and offer him a new three-year contract with a significant wage rise, and hope that will be enough.