Laurent Koscielny’s injury suffered during our Europa League Semi-Final not only ended his season, but his World Cup dream.
He had to watch from the sidelines as his compatriots enjoyed the perfect World Cup, lifting the famous trophy to be crowned World Champions.
All while Koscielny was nursing himself nearer to a return to the pitch.
It must have been pretty difficult to overcome the knowledge that if it weren’t for his achilles injury, the defender would have gotten his hands on the World Cup. It is a thought that is perfectly designed to torment for the foreseeable future, if not forever.
Koscielny stuck gamely to his task and now we have our club captain back and available for selection – but is his Arsenal career now merely passing the torch to his students?
Koscielny has been a fine defender for us. His arrival in 2011 was pretty unheralded, despite the relatively high transfer fee. We saw a rough but adept defender, who resembled Kolo Toure in style, but with a shorter temper.
Koscielny always had a tendency to jump into tackles, giving away needless set-plays thanks to his penchant for going to ground. It took years to coach out of him, but for the last five seasons, Koscielny, has been amongst the greatest defenders to grace the Premier League.
His reading of the game benefitted from partnering the sage Per Mertesacker. His aerial ability has always been strong, and his strength belies his streamlined physique. Koscielny’s greatest asset though?
His undying loyalty.
The Frenchman stayed with us through the miasma of struggles we have endured. In the seven years he has been with us, approaching eight, Kos has seen many stars depart for greener pastures, he has seen seasons crumble into the abyss, he has been humbled by the odd thrashing.
Yet, much like how we herald the fact that the likes of Rosicky stayed during times of distress and precious little success, Kos too did the same thing. He stayed because he loves the club, and we adore him too.
This is why we must keep Kos in amongst the squad. He has much to teach the likes of Medley, Holding, Chambers and others pushing through. He can show them what it means to put on the jersey, he can show them about recovering from a mistake, or when a partner leaves a path open.
Kos can pass on his learnings from seasons of under-par partners, from under-strength squads. He may have lost the peak abilities he once had, but he still has enough to see he is one of our stronger defenders, and is well worthy of a place.
We may have seen the best of Koscielny, but no one wants to see him go just yet. He deserves every bit of our respect.