Bordeaux

Getty Images

Koscielny refuses to go on Arsenal’s U.S. tour

1 Comment

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.

Marseille suffers damaging defeat at Bordeaux

Olympique Marseille official Twitter
Leave a comment

Olympique Marseille suffered a massive blow in its chase for a Champions League place, losing at Bordeaux by a 2-0 score thanks to goals by Francois Kamano and Nicolas de Preville.

Bordeaux has been a house of horrors for Marseille, and Friday’s result did nothing to change that sentiment. Marseille, having not won at Bordeaux in 42 years, suffered a blow to its Champions League hopes with the defeat as the visitors remained a point back of fourth-placed St. Etienne who now has two games in hand.

A hand-ball by Nemanja Radonjic in the 27th minute put Bordeaux at the penalty spot, and Kamano converted the spot-kick with a stutter step that sent Steve Mandanda the wrong way, easily burying the ball after the goalkeeper found the turf. The second came with 20 minutes to go as de Preville took a Marseille turnover just past midfield and burst forward all by himself, splitting two defenders in the box before slotting home.

Bordeaux defender Pablo was sent off with eight minutes to go for barging into Mario Balotelli off the ball, but Marseille had no response. Ultimately, while Marseille finished with 65% possession and 20 total shots, they put just five of those efforts on target. Meanwhile, Bordeaux miraculously put all seven of its shots on target, sealing the win.

The defeat secures Marseille’s embarrassing and lightning-quick collapse. The club rose from seventh to fourth in just a month, finding themselves in a Champions League place by mid-march thanks to a five-match unbeaten run that included four wins, highlighted by a defeat of St. Etienne. They immediately slumped, winless in the next three matches with two defeats in that span, falling out of the Champions League race as quickly as they’d risen into it.

Bordeaux’s streak of dominance at home over Marseille is something to behold. In those 42 years, they’ve gone 34 matches unbeaten, with 21 wins and 13 draws. It is the longest such streak in French top flight history. In addition, Bordeaux’s opener was the ninth penalty goal conceded by Marseille this league season, the most by any Top 5 team in Europe this season.

Report: Nantes demanding Sala transfer payment from Cardiff

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
1 Comment

This will undoubtedly be the unsavory side of the Emiliano Sala tragedy, but we all knew it was coming one day soon.

[ WATCH: Cardiff City salutes Sala after opening penalty kick goal ]

The BBC is reporting that Ligue 1 side Nantes are demanding the first of three identical payments — each expected to be roughly $6.5 million — from Cardiff City “within 10 days,” otherwise they will take legal action against the Premier League side.

The report also cites a source at Cardiff as saying the club intends to honor the transfer agreement, which is set to be for a club-record $19.5 million, once they have “all the facts.”

Cardiff are reportedly “surprised” that Nantes have made such demands while attempts to recover the bodies of Sala and pilot David Ibbotson are still ongoing. The Air Accident Investigation Bureau said on Monday that “one occupant is visible amidst the wreckage” at the bottom of the ocean just off the Channel Islands.

[ MORE: Cardiff wins in first home match since Sala’s disappearance (video) ]

Bordeaux are also due a cut — reportedly 50 percent — of the transfer fee as part of the agreement to transfer Sala to their French counterparts in the summer of 2015. Nantes paid an initial fee of just over $1 million.

Report: Thierry Henry offered Bordeaux job

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to a report by Sky Sports, Thierry Henry has been offered the Bordeaux managerial position.

Henry left his Sky Sports punditry job this summer to concentrate on his coaching career, and has been a top assistant to Roberto Martinez with Belgium over the last two years, including this summer at the World Cup where Belgium finished in third place.

The Bordeaux position is theoretically open after the club suspended manager Gus Poyet who publicly criticized the front office for selling striker Gaetan Laborde to fellow Ligue 1 side Montpellier without his knowledge.

Henry, a French international with 51 goals in 123 caps for his home nation.

“It would be very good for Bordeaux,” current Nice manager Patrick Viera told Sky Sports. Viera was a former teammate of Henry’s on the French national team. “It would be very good for him. It would be very good for Ligue 1 because of his notoriety. I know he’s someone who really wants to be a coach and he has the means to succeed. He has had a lot of experiences. I think it would be a great thing for football because he has a lot to contribute and a lot to give.”

Henry reportedly was offered a U-18 coaching position at Arsenal last summer, but Arsene Wenger is said to have overruled that decision due to Henry’s part-time duties as a television pundit, wanting the former international to focus on the position full-time. The 41-year-old was also linked heavily to the Aston Villa job this summer, but the club decided to stick with Steve Bruce.

Report: Thierry Henry begins talks with Bordeaux

Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Thierry Henry versus Patrick Vieira has the connotations of an Arsenal reunion match or Hudson River Derby fight, but the pair of French superstars may be matching tactical wits in Ligue 1 soon.

Sky Sports says that former New York Red Bulls star and Arsenal legend Henry has opened talks with Bordeaux about their manager’s spot.

[ WATCH: Lichaj assists for Hull ]

Vieira was hired away from New York City FC by OGC Nice earlier this summer, whileHenry was assisting Roberto Martinez in leading Belgium to a third place finish at the World Cup.

Bordeaux is 0-2 after two matches of the Ligue 1 season, while Nice is 0-1-1.

For those wondering, the two sides meet on Oct. 27 at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.

Which manager do you back for more success in the short- and long-term?