William Gallas was released to free agency long ago but that has not taken the French flavor away from the Arsenal defense. After weeks of speculation, Arsene Wenger has finally unveiled a new addition to the Gunners’ squad in the form of defender Laurent Koscielny. The 24-year old, who arrives from Lorient, helped his former club finish in seventh place last season after making 40 appearances in all competitions.
Although he is not exactly someone with an established reputation in the Premier League, comparisons with last season’s incredibly effective signing of Thomas Vermaelen are inevitable. Vermaelen, who arrived from Ajax as the Belgian captain, was being considered by many pundits as someone with a lot to prove in England. It took the Belgian little time to deliver in his debut season at the Emirates and Wenger has the same level of faith in the abilities of Koscielny.
“Koscielny is a central defender with great ability who performed extremely well last season for Lorient. We identified him as a very strong centre half, who has made big progress very quickly,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website.
The Frenchman added: “He has shown he is mentally strong, he’s a fighter and a very strong competitor. Koscielny is a great addition to our squad.”
Koscielny, who will take number 6 shirt previously worn by Swiss defender Philippe Senderos, also spoke of his pleasure at becoming the Gunners’ second signing of the summer following the arrival of Moroccan international Marouane Chamakh from Bordeaux.
“I’m very excited to be joining Arsenal. They are one of the biggest teams in Europe with many great players. I’m really looking forward to playing in the English Premier League and the Champions League with my new club,” he said at the time of his unveiling.
Praising his new manager as well as the club’s fans, he added: “Also, in Arsène Wenger, Arsenal has one of the best managers in the world and I can’t wait to work with him and do my best for the Arsenal supporters.”