Laurent Koscielny will ruin Arsenal "legacy" after refusing to go on US pre-season tour, says Ian Wright

Press Association Sport 20:02 12/07/2019
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Former Arsenal favourite Ian Wright believes captain Laurent Koscielny is threatening to ruin his “legacy” at the club after refusing to go on the pre-season tour of the United States.

The 33-year-old was due to fly out to the USA with the rest of the squad on Thursday but the club announced that the defender would not be travelling.

It is understood Koscielny, whose contract runs until next year, made it clear to the club that he wished to be released this summer in order to sign for another club.

But Arsenal stood firm and refused to grant the former France international a free transfer.

Wright is confounded at the timing of the furore surrounding Koscielny as Arsenal aim to challenge for a top-four place when the Premier League gets under way on August 9.

Speaking on his own YouTube channel, Wright said: “He’s given us unbelievable service, we’ve seen him play through pain and build a legacy and legendary status he deserves.

laurent

“It’s the time in the season where everybody is meant to be together. We are in for a tough season, a transitional period, we need a lot of catching up.

“For our captain to refuse to go on a pre-season tour after nine years of unbelievable service, to destroy your legacy a little by refusing to play for a club is something that is baffling me.

“Why Laurent? Who are your advisers and what are they saying to you?

“I am so disappointed in your decision to do this at this time, if your agent sees this, and I hope they do, shame on you, shame on you, for doing this to him and convincing him. No way you can tell me he will come up with this on his own.

“You’re the one we chose as our captain, our leader, and now we’re going into pre-season with our captain refusing to go on the tour.

“This is something I cannot get my head around and I pray to god it can be resolved sooner rather than later.

“It doesn’t set a good example, Arsenal need to do something quick and disciplinary. I love you Laurent but this is a poor decision.”

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Five of the best goals Peter Crouch has scored in his career

Press Association Sport 18:07 12/07/2019
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Former England striker Peter Crouch has announced his retirement from football at the age of 38.

Here, PA takes a look at five of the forward’s best goals.

Acrobatic display

Crouch won a UEFA poll in April this year for the best goal ever scored in the Champions League thanks to his spectacular overhead kick for Liverpool against Galatasaray in 2006.

The goal was one of four shortlisted by UEFA, with the 6ft 7in Englishman beating off efforts by Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic.

Wonder goal

Crouch stunned Manchester City, who were on their way to the Premier League title in 2012, when he fired Stoke into the lead with a stunning goal from outside the area in their top-flight clash in March of that year.

Crouch coolly brought the ball down on the corner of the box before firing it into the top-left corner on the half-volley. The game ended 1-1 after Yaya Toure cancelled out Crouch’s wonder strike.

Hand of dread

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England were looking to make a statement against minnows Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 World Cup in Germany after a narrow 1-0 win in their opening group game against Paraguay.

After 83 minutes and still deadlocked at 0-0, David Beckham whipped in a cross which was headed in by Crouch – but only after he had pulled defender Brent Sancho’s dreadlocks which stopped him from getting off the ground.

Steven Gerrard scored a second and England eventually went out in the quarter-finals.

Robotic moves

Arguably Crouch became more renowned for his goal celebrations than many of the goals themselves. Crouch marked his goal in a pre-World Cup international friendly against Hungary in 2006 with the robot celebration for which he would become known.

He then unleashed his quirky dance moves again against Jamaica during the tournament.

Perfect hat-trick

Crouch named his hat-trick goal for Liverpool against Arsenal at Anfield in March 2007 as one of his best. He scored his first goal with his right foot, headed in the second and showed deft control to slot in the third with his left foot in front of The Kop.

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Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny refuses to travel on club's pre-season tour of US

Press Association Sport 20:52 11/07/2019
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Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny refused to travel on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States after a request to have his contract cancelled was rejected, PA understands.

The 33-year-old was due to fly out to the USA with the rest of the squad on Thursday but the club announced earlier in the day that the defender would not be travelling.

It is understood Koscielny, whose contract runs until next year, made it clear to the club that he wishes to be released from the agreement this summer in order to sign for another club.

But Arsenal have stood firm and, upon their refusal to grant the former France international a free transfer, Koscielny responded by not joining his team-mates in the USA.

“Laurent Koscielny has refused to travel to the US for our pre-season tour,” a club statement read.

“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.”

Internal disciplinary proceedings will begin against Koscielny in the coming days as the rest of Unai Emery’s squad prepare for the new Premier League campaign.

Koscielny’s future is now in doubt ahead of the season opener at Newcastle on August 11 and the situation may leave Arsenal needing to recruit another centre-back in the transfer window.

They are closing in on the capture of Saint-Etienne’s 18-year-old defender William Saliba but that deal is expected to see the teenager return to the Ligue 1 side on loan for the next season.

Koscielny did not feature for the Gunners until December last season, spending seven months on the sidelines overcoming a serious Achilles injury suffered in Europa League semi-final defeat to Atletico Madrid last May.

He has made 353 appearances for Arsenal since joining from Lorient in 2010, scoring 27 goals and winning two FA Cups.

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