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

West Ham: Chicharito plus $45M to Marseille for World Cup winner?

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Florian Thauvin left the Premier League a transfer bust, and may be returning for a lot more money as a World Cup champion.

Thauvin, 26, is being linked with a move to West Ham United for $45 million and the services of Mexican national team star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

[ MORE: Lukaku latest ]

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren couldn’t coax a single goal out of Thauvin in 2015-16, and he was quickly back at Marseille.

He then scored 15, 26, and 15 goals over the next three seasons, breaking into the French national team and playing a single minute in France’s World Cup victory. Here’s the thing, though: you can’t prove they would’ve won it without that minute.

Hernandez has scored 15 Premier League goals in the two seasons since he arrived from a Bundesliga run with Bayer Leverkusen. He’s earned just two of his 108 caps since the 2018 World Cup, scoring against Paraguay after a sub’s turn versus Chile in March 2019.

Good deal for the Irons? Marseille probably likes what it sees from its end.

Report: Neymar told PSG he wants to leave

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If Neymar has his way, his sojourn to Paris will end after two largely impressive, yet unsatisfying seasons for him.

According to a report in UOL Esporte from Brazil, in a conversation with Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo, a fellow Brazilian, Neymar told Leonardo that he desired to leave PSG this summer. If true, it’s the latest strong rumor and report that Neymar is serious about leaving Paris before accomplishing his goal of winning the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

[READ: 2019 Women’s World Cup by the numbers]

This latest report is important because Neymar didn’t arrive on day one of preseason training for PSG on Monday. PSG claim that it was caught off guard by this and were surprised he didn’t show up. Neymar and his handlers, on the other hand, say that they told PSG previously that Neymar has some functions to attend to and won’t arrive in Paris until next week.

In addition, Neymar is coming off a serious ankle injury suffered on international duty in early June and could in theory still need time to recover.

The bookies favorites these days are for Neymar to return to Barcelona, but it just seems nearly impossible to imagine Barca signing both Neymar and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann. For Financial Fair Play reasons, Barca would have to offload many of their players just to afford the pair when considering yearly salary and transfer fee.

The Neymar transfer saga appears prime to go down to the wire as both clubs negotiate through intermediaries before an agreement is reached. But could Neymar speed things up if he doesn’t show up at all? Or will PSG treat him like Adrian Rabiot last year, and leave him benched.

For PSG, Neymar still has 3 years left on his contract and is still an absolute star in Ligue 1 and the side’s best chance of winning a Champions League title. Losing him, no matter the return, leaves a giant hole that’s difficult to replace in terms of production. However, his off the field antics may just make PSG bite it’s tongue and let him go.

Absent Neymar provokes strong reaction from PSG

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Neymar didn’t show up to Paris Saint-Germain preseason, and the French champions are salty.

PSG released a statement on Monday regarding Neymar’s unannounced absence from camp, as a move away from Paris seems to be on the menu.

[ MORE: What we learned about the USMNT this summer ]

Neymar has been linked with a return to Barcelona and the world record transfer-raiser looks like he’s ready to engineer a move following a terrible year which included plenty of injuries and an allegation of sexual assault.

Let’s see what level of anger is living at PSG right now:

Paris Saint-Germain deplores this situation and will take the appropriate measures resulting from it.

Yeah, that’s threat level red, friends.

There are few teams on Earth that can afford Neymar, who is also 27 and has struggled to stay healthy for club and country.

And any suitor would need swap pieces, too, especially if it’s a club like Real Madrid or Barca who’ve already spent healthy sums this summer.

Again, rousing the rabble, I still think there’s a Pogba-for-Neymar swap possibility…

Leicester seals permament deal for Youri Tielemans

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Leicester City is backing Brendan Rodgers.

The Foxes broke their transfer record on Monday, sealing the long-anticipated move for 2018-19 loan star Youri Tielemans from Monaco.

The move is worth a reported $50 million, and will tie Tielemans to the King Power Stadium for four seasons.

[ MORE: What we learned about the USMNT this month ]

Tielemans, 22, was wonderful during his half-season with Leicester, posting three goals and four assists with the Foxes.

Remarkably, Tielemans cost just $12 million less than Ayoze Perez of Newcastle, and the pair will join Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and Demarai Gray in a talented attack.

How is this crew going to line up?!? They have the attacking depth to challenge for a seventh and could even sneak a bit higher given a down season from Manchester United or another power.

They should also be able to aim for a Europa League spot via one of the domestic Cups.