Laurent Koscielny

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Transfer rumor roundup: Bayern Munich chasing Sane, Dembele

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A brief roundup of all the major transfer rumors sweeping their way across Europe and around the world, including the Premier League…

[ MORE: Friday’s transfer rumor rumor | Thursday | Wednesday ]

Bayern Munich appear hellbent on signing a young superstar this summer, and they might just have the opening they need to do so in the wake of Antoine Griezmann’s $135-million move to Barcelona. Just when Ousmane Dembele appeared headed for a regular starting spot alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the 22-year-old Frenchman now figures to be the odd man out for a full-time starting spot.

There has been no indication that Dembele is looking to leave the Camp Nou in search of regular starting time, but just in case he is, Bayern are reportedly ready to offer him a landing spot. A bid of nearly $80 million was reportedly rejected last week, prior to Griezmann’s arrival. Dembele moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2017 for over $150 million.

If Dembele proves unattainable, Bayern have reportedly had their hearts on set on Manchester City’s Leroy Sane since the summer began. According to reports, Man City value Sane at more than $110 million.


Arsenal will demand a fee of $11 million from any club that wants to sign defender and captain Laurent Koscielny, according to the Standard. With one year remaining on his current contract, the 33-year-old refused to join his teammates on the club’s preseason tour of the United States as he attempts to force through a move back to France where he would like to see out his playing career.

Bordeaux, Rennes and Lyon are all reportedly interested in signing Koscielny, but none of the above have yet made a bid to Arsenal. Koscielny could also buy out his own contract, making him a free agent, and recoup that money over the life of a long-term contract featuring higher wages with the club saving millions of dollars on the front end.


Manchester United are still pursuing Leicester City defender Harry Maguire, but the Red Devils have a backup plan this year, according to French newspaper L’Equipe. While Maguire, who Man United pursued to no avail last summer, would reportedly cost $100 million, Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile is thought to be the fall-back option, for roughly $38 million.

The 18-year-old, who would be much more of a long-term investment than the 26-year-old England international, is also reportedly on the short list of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Koscielny refuses to go on Arsenal’s US tour

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Arsenal’s captain Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel with the team on their preseason tour of the USA.

Koscielny, 33, has one year left on his current Gunners deal and the likes of Rennes, Bordeaux and Lyon in his homeland want to sign him.

It is believed Koscielny asked to be released from his contract a year early to head back to France, but that request was turned down and Arsenal’s captain has now decided to take this drastic step.

Arsenal have slammed Koscielny in an official statement, as the club have now opened disciplinary proceedings against the French international.

“Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour. We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions. We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”

Flying out to California on Thursday, Arsenal will play against the Colorado Rapids in a friendly, then take part in the International Champions Cup with games against Bayern Munich in Los Angeles), Fiorentina in Charlotte and Real Madrid in Washington D.C. before heading back to the UK.

Koscielny’s decision to not turn up for preseason will surely see him stripped of the captaincy, but it also gives Unai Emery an unwanted headache. Last season Emery dealt with Mesut Ozil being unhappy and the Spanish coach was all about unity and having a collective spirit following Arsene Wenger‘s departure.

This decision from Koscielny will no doubt have a huge impact on the locker room.

Shokdran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Callum Chambers, Dinos Mavropanos and Sokratis are Arsenal’s current options at center back, but there’s no doubt Koscielny would have been a starter alongside Sokratis this season.

The Gunners are closing in on a deal to sign French youngster William Saliba from Saint-Etienne for $34 million then loan him back to the Ligue 1 club. Considering this situation with Koscielny, they may try and keep Saliba for the upcoming season instead.

Koscielny has been a fans favorite since he arrived in 2010 and his rise from the lower French leagues to the Premier League and UEFA Champions League while also captaining Arsenal is a great story.

However, in recent years injuries have hit him hard and although nobody really points the finger towards him with regards to Arsenal’s recent defensive frailties, Koscielny has been to blame with some major errors.

Arsenal should probably cut their losses here and let Koscielny leave on a free, as overall he’s been a good servant to the club and they are unlikely to receive that much for him in terms of a transfer fee. Then again, you cannot let one player dictate your transfer dealings as they sets a poor precedent.

What a mess. Koscielny hasn’t conducted himself well here, and Arsenal putting this out in the open has escalated the seriousness of the situation.

Transfer rumor roundup: New homes for Koscielny, Gundogan

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The transfer rumor mill is veteran heavy heading into the weekend.

[ MORE: U.S. falls in FIFA rankings ]

Borussia Dortmund doesn’t want to fizzle out again next season, and is hoping to lure a few special players to Germany this season.

Juve forward Mario Mandzukic, Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan, and Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny are all on BVB’s radar as the club looks to improve on the side that pushed Bayern Munich for much of last season.

Gundogan wants more playing time but City is said to be ready to let him leave on a free at the end of the 2019-20 season. Koscielny could be a victim of Unai Emery‘s need to flip his defensive script. Could both end up in Dortmund? Bild (subscription required) says so, and Koscielny could cost $13 million while Gundogan’s fee is unknown.


Bayern Munich hero Lothar Matthaus says James Rodriguez is going to find his way to a Juventus side which could become the favorite to win the UEFA Champions League.

Matthaus tells Spanish web site AS that James remains close with Cristiano Ronaldo, and that he’s ready for a reunion with good pal. Additionally, Real would benefit from the deal, as James was just on loan with Bayern and his rights remain at the Bernabeu.


Rumorinhos:

Antonio Valencia is being linked with a Premier League stay, as Sheffield United may want to bring the Ecuador captain aboard the good ship Blades.

— Would Jesper Cillessen leave Barcelona to stay a backup… at Everton? We doubt it, but maybe that says something more about the controversial season of Jordan Pickford than the status of Cillessen?

Aubameyang double helps Arsenal down Burnley (video)

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A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double saw Arsenal finish the Premier League season on a winning note, and the Gabon international draw level with the Premier League top scorers as Arsenal topped Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor on the final day of the season.

Aubameyang started the day off strong, hitting the bar in the opening minutes. A free kick from a lateral angle swung in to the near post and the Arsenal striker clattered the crossbar with a chested ball. Tom Heaton was also forced into action in the early going, with Aubameyang again coming close minutes later.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal was nearly broken down past the half-hour mark on a scrum in the box but a critical tackle from Mateo Guendouzi kept Burnley off the board. Just before the break, James Tarkowski got his head to a corner, but it fired just wide.

The Gunners had a familiar sight when Konstantinos Movrapanos went off injured past the half-hour mark, with Laurent Koscielny coming on in his place. The back line for the Gunners this season has been a revolving door with injuries dotting the landscape, and now with the Europa League final on the horizon, they will have to deal with another.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Burnley finally broke thanks to a poor back-pass from Jack Cork, leaving Ben Mee in trouble. Aubameyang snatched the wayward ball, and he finished cooly through on goal for the opener 52 minutes in, his 21st goal of the season.

The second came 10 minutes later with Aubameyang on the double, smashing home a looped cross from Alex Iwobi to the far post. The goal was notable in the Golden Boot race, but Burnley made sure the celebration was short-lived as a header from Ashley Barnes pegged the Gunners back.

Aubameyang had a glorious chance to not only seal his hat-trick but also to win the Golden Boot, and he somehow missed. Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s pinpoint cross came right to a sliding Aubameyang at the doorstep, but he managed to put it wide with the goal gaping.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

19-year-old Eddie Nketiah finished off the scoreline with the final kick of the game as he scored from an absurdly tight angle, squeaking it through a defender’s legs right on the end line and into the far corner. The goal was somewhat noteworthy given that Aubameyang was wide open at the penalty spot calling for the ball, and another goal for him would have sealed not only the hat-trick but the Golden Boot outright. Instead, Nketiah took it himself and wrapped up the game.

With the win, Arsenal finished the season in fifth, just a point off the Champions League places with 70, inches behind rival Tottenham’s 71-point haul. Burnley ends up in 15th, right on the magical 40-point mark.

Europa League Roundup: Arsenal shutout Napoli; Eintracht, Valencia advance

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What road problems?

For the second consecutive match, Arsenal picked up a 1-0 win on the road, this time against even tougher competition. Arsenal beat Napoli, 1-0, and 3-0 on aggregate to advance to the Europa League semifinals. Alexandre Lacazette scored a terrific free kick from 30-yards out, taking advantage of Alex Meter shifting the wrong way.

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In the second half, with Napoli needing four goals and pushing, Arsenal relied heavily on its centerback trio of Sokratis, Laurent Koscielny, and Nacho Monreal, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Saed Kolasinac helping in defense.

It’s a reversal of Arsenal’s recent fortunes, where before Monday, they hadn’t won on the road since February, including in the Europa League to Rennes. However, the 2-0 scoreline from the first leg really gave Arsenal the push and momentum it needed to get past a struggling Napoli side under Carlo Ancelotti.

Elsewhere, Valencia took care of languishing Villarreal in style with a 2-0 victory, winning 5-1 on aggregate, but the real drama took place in Germany.

With Eintracht Frankfurt trailing before kickoff by a pair of goals, the Eagles – well, both Benfica and Eintracht are the Eagles – managed to secure a 2-0 result to advance in the Europa League. Sebastian Rode’s second-half finish off an Ante Rebec pass has kept Eintracht’s season alive in Europe, where Luka Jovic can continue to market himself to the world’s biggest clubs.