Laurent Koscielny has defended his move to Bordeaux, saying that he left Arsenal ‘with my head held high’.
The defender spent nine years at Arsenal, making over 300 appearances, winning three FA Cups and captaining the side in the latter stages of his tenure.
However, for some Arsenal supporters Koscielny’s legacy at the club was tarnished with the way in which he went about securing a move away.
Bordeaux defender Laurent Koscielny has claimed that he left Arsenal with his head held high
Koscielny refused to travel on the Gunners’ pre-season tour of the United States, while his arrival at Bordeaux was announced in controversial fashion with a video in which he removed an Arsenal shirt and put a Bordeaux one on.
The Frenchman was criticised by Arsenal legend Ian Wright as well as many of the club’s fans, but says that ‘everybody respected’ his decision to leave.
Koscielny told L’Equipe: ‘A Premier League season is very long. It requires a lot physically and mentally.
‘I didn’t feel I could play 40-50 matches and I didn’t want to end my career with injuries. I’ve gone down a level, but to take more pleasure.
‘Either I finished there or changed clubs. With my family, we felt it was time.
‘Everything was in my thinking: football, my physical state, my wife, my children, the daily life we could have.
‘I can only say that I left with my head held high.
Koscielny was criticised by fans after he refused to travel on the club’s pre-season tour
‘All of those I worked with for nine years… everyone respected my decision to return home with my family.’
Koscielny stressed that he always gave his utmost while playing for Arsenal and praised Unai Emery for his understanding of the situation.
Koscielny said: ‘I’ve always been upstanding, respectful and loyal. I always gave my maximum.
‘I spoke with the coach, who was understanding. And as for the rest…’
Since joining Bordeaux Koscielny has been a regular in the side, making seven appearances in Ligue 1 so far.