Date: 11th July 2019 at 11:45am
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Gary Lineker has weighed in on the controversy surrounding veteran Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny after he refused to travel with Arsenal on their pre-season tour of the States.

Arsenal released a statement on Thursday morning that was very short and to the point: “We are very disappointed by Laurent’s actions, which are against our clear instructions. We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.”

Gary Lineker added his voice to the mix on his personal Twitter account criticising the club’s captain saying, “That’s leadership for you” and adding a face-palm emoji.

John Cross in the Mirror had reported on Wednesday that Koscielny was unhappy at Arsenal, with one year left on his contract and a big-money offer from Bordeaux on the table.

VERDICT

This is completely out of character for a player who has always been a leader and a consummate professional for Arsenal. He’s out of contract next year and obviously wants to secure his long-term future. Meanwhile, Arsenal want to keep him but haven’t opened talks of a new deal. He would have probably left next year when his contract expired but now it looks like he wants to force the situation this summer. This is totally the wrong way to go about it though. Players have much more power than they did in the past and there have been several instances where they’ve crossed the line, most recently Neymar who has refused to return to pre-season training with PSG and Marko Arnautovic who put in a transfer request at Stoke to move to West Ham, before doing the same there to force a move through to China. Putting Koscielny in with these players doesn’t seem right but Lineker makes a really good point – as club captain Koscielny should be showing the way forward in what is a pretty difficult time for Arsenal. This isn’t a good move for the player or the club, no-matter what happens as a result.