Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has revealed he spoke to Laurent Koscielny three times in a forlorn attempt to get his captain on the club’s pre-season tour.
The Gunners announced last week that the former France international had refused to fly to the United States and PA understands his decision came after his request to have his contract terminated and find a new club was rejected, with disciplinary proceedings due as a result.
Without Koscielny, a young Arsenal side eased to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids in their first game of pre-season as new signing Gabriel Martinelli impressed, scoring the third goal after Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka had put the visitors in charge.
After the game, Emery was quizzed on the situation regarding Koscielny and the Spaniard admitted he had spoken to the 33-year-old defender on numerous occasions but had been unable to convince him to travel.
“He started training with us this pre-season and I spoke with him three times for his situation,” Emery said at his post-match press conference.
“We wanted him to come with us on this tour but he decided to stay. Now it is a matter for the club and for the player.
“We spoke with a good spirit for both the team and him but this is his decision, only his decision. He’s speaking only with the club.”
It remains to be seen if Koscielny has a future at the Emirates Stadium following his decision and he continues to be linked with a return to France.
He could yet buy out the remainder of his deal to allow him to move for free, but Emery insists he remains an “important” part of his squad at this stage.
“He has one year left on his contract,” Emery added.
“For me as a coach he’s an important player. Now it’s one matter for him and the club. The club and him need to speak, they are speaking about his situation.
“I cannot say more than that. I spoke with him before he came here and he decided to stay there.
“Really I cannot say more about that. For me now it’s clear we need to keep moving ahead. We’re here with the players who have the spirit to create the new way.
“Laurent Koscielny for me, now, I’m waiting on his decision with the club.”
Teenager Gabriel Martinelli scored on his debut for Arsenal to help lift the side to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rapids during their pre-season tour.
The 18-year-old, who was signed for an undisclosed fee from Brazil’s Ituano FC on July 2, fired home a cross from Dominic Thompson in the 61st minute in Denver.
Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka’s first-half efforts had earlier put the Gunners firmly in control as they kicked off their tour of the United States.
Martinelli was in fine form from the off, just missing a chance to put himself on the scoreboard in the first five minutes when his finish went wide.
Seventeen-year-old Saka put Arsenal in the lead after 13 minutes, dinking the ball over Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin following impressive work from Eddie Nketiah, before Olayinka doubled the advantage 16 minutes later with a strike into the top left-hand corner.
Unai Emery had featured many of the younger players in his starting line-up, but Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette were brought on in the closing minutes.
Arsenal will continue their pre-season tour with International Champions Cup matches against Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Real Madrid in Los Angeles, Charlotte and Washington DC respectively.
Steve Bruce has tendered his resignation as Sheffield Wednesday manager, PA understands.
The 58-year-old, who is expected to succeed Rafael Benitez as Newcastle boss, has given his notice in writing together with first-team coaches Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence.
Former Sunderland and Birmingham manager Bruce confirmed over the weekend he had been in talks with Newcastle, who are keen to make a swift appointment with the start of the new Premier League season just a month away.
Wednesday and Newcastle have yet to reach an agreement over compensation for Bruce, who took charge at Hillsborough in January.
Newcastle are understood to have put their offer in writing, but that has yet to be accepted by Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri.
It has been reported that Wednesday want £4.5million in compensation for Bruce, plus an additional £1.5m for Agnew and Clemence.
Bruce took charge of Wednesday’s 3-1 friendly win at Lincoln on Saturday and was confronted on the touchline by an angry Owls fan.
The former Aston Villa boss told reporters he had spoken to Newcastle but the two clubs had yet to reach “some sort of compromise”.
Copy provided by Press Association Sport