Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has refused to go on the club’s pre-season tour, as reported by the BBC.
The Frenchman is apparently looking for the Gunners to release him so he can join a new club, and will not be out in the United States with the rest of his team-mates.
Setting aside whether that’s the right course of action – and it’s never a good look for a captain to abandon his team – it only serves to intensify Arsenal’s need for defensive reinforcement.
21-year-old Krystian Bielik can play in central defence as well as defensive midfield – another position in which Arsenal need to beef up – but is not in Unai Emery’s plans for next season, according to the Evening Standard.
Futhermore, the Daily Mirror report that Emery is willing to use 24-year-old Calum Chambers as part of the bid to try and land Wilfried Zaha.
Like Bielik, Chambers is another who can play centre back, holding midfield and even at an absolute push, right back – but Emery is also happy to see him leave.
That’s despite this being a summer when Arsenal don’t have a great deal of money to spend and need improvements at the back and in terms of a screen for their defence.
Why is Emery so happy to see these players leave despite impressive loan spells and the club’s current situation? Few might have predicted the impact of Rob Holding or Matteo Guendouzi last season, but young players can develop quickly and surprise a manager.
They might not be the big names to get the fans excited, but both Chambers and Bielik are players of the right age, hungry to prove themselves, coming off the back of good seasons and with plenty of talent. Emery would be wise to give them a chance next season.