This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
In Arsene Wenger’s final few years in charge at Arsenal, there appeared to be a very concerning theme emerging throughout the club. Not their well-known defensive frailties or the miserable end to their many years of consecutive top-four finishes, but the willingness of certain players to throw their toys out the pram in order to get what they want.
Sadly for the Gunners, a change in manager hasn’t exactly remedied that problem. As confirmed by the club’s official website, club captain Laurent Koscielny has refused to go on the club’s pre-season tour of the USA in an apparent attempt to force through a move back to his native France.
A deep-rooted cultural issue
The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie and Alexis Sanchez have run the Gunners around in circles in the past, leading them on wild goose chases before waving their Emirates goodbyes.
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It all speaks to a cultural problem that runs from top to bottom and is characterised by weak management and a failure to assert control. In the modern age of player power, the Gunners have bore the brunt of it.
Whether Koscielny deserves to be given his move to France is essentially irrelevant; he remains employed by the Gunners and is expected to carry out the duties of an Arsenal player. The fact that he took the decision to boycott the tour as captain reeks of an understanding that those at the Emirates feel they can get away with such actions.
The timing of the 33-year-old’s decision is even more damning of the overall state of affairs. The Gunners had just confirmed the appointment of their first-ever technical director in Edu and appeared to be getting things behind the scenes back in order after Ivan Gazidis jumped ship to Milan last year.
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Instead, the rest of the summer window will be played out to the circus act of Koscielny’s inevitable departure and will leave the north London side’s already brittle defence even more in the mire.
Arsenal players have long had their mentality on the pitch questioned by pundits and fans alike; it’s about time they’re questioned for the kind of actions they take off the pitch too.
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