- Category : Football Player
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Rulership 3
Laurent Koscielny (born 10 September 1985) is a French footballer who plays as a defender for Arsenal. He primarily plays as a centre back but he can also play as a right back, a position where he started his career. He is described as an aggressive, strong, quick and ball-playing defender.
Koscielny was born in the city of Tulle and began his football career playing for a host of amateur and youth clubs such as Brive, Tulle Corrèze and Limoges. In 2001, he moved to the Brittany in northwestern France to play for professional club Guingamp.
In 2007, Koscielny joined Tours for an undisclosed fee to play in the third tier of the French league in 2007 and enjoyed promotion with his new side before being named in the Ligue 2 Team of the Season the following campaign. On 16 June 2009, newly promoted Ligue 1 side Lorient signed Koscielny on a four-year contract for around €1.7 million. He quickly established himself as a starter.
His performances caught the eye of Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and Arsenal confirmed the signing on 7 July 2010 and Koscielny was handed the club's number 6 shirt. Arsenal fans voted Laurent Koscielny as Arsène Wenger’s most effective signing of 2010–11 following an impressive debut campaign. Koscielny was called up to the French national team on 4 February 2011. Prior to his call up for France, Koscielny was also eligible to play for Poland, as a result of his family roots. In the 1–1 draw against Southampton on 1 January 2013, Koscielny made his hundredth appearance for Arsenal.
Koscielny was born in Tulle, Corrèze. His career began in 2004 with Guingamp, a team that have produced such talents as Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda. Three years and barely forty appearances later, Koscielny was forced to take stock and drop down to the French third tier. The Frenchman made forty-six appearances for Guingamp, between 2004 and 2007, mostly as a right fullback.
In 2007, Koscielny joined Tours FC. Koscielny decided that he wanted a chance at centre back. Koscienly showed remarkable improvement in aerial ability and a positional awareness that allowed the defender to limit himself to just three yellow cards. During the 2008–09 season, Koscielny made 34 appearances, scoring 5 goals from defence. He was named in the best XI for Ligue 2 after the 2008–09 season. Koscielny moved to Lorient FC to play in Ligue 1 for 1.7million euros.
On 16 June 2009, newly promoted Ligue 1 side FC Lorient signed Koscielny on a four-year contract for around €1.7 million. He established himself as a starter and played in his preferred centre-back position. Over one season at the club, he scored 3 goals in 35 appearances. On 7 March 2009 Koscielny tapped in his first Ligue 1 goal against Olympique Marseille at Stade Vélodrome in the 65th minute in a 1–1 draw. Koscielny became a fan favourite when he scored his second goal with a header deep in injury time against Montpellier in a 2–2 draw after a cross from Monterrubio.
He scored another against Bordeaux after 11 minutes. However, he received a red card 15 minutes later for a foul in the penalty area against Marouane Chamakh, whom he is now teammates with (although Chamakh is currently on loan at West Ham United FC). Koscielny helped Lorient to finish the campaign in 7th place; its best finish in Ligue 1. An impressive season culminated in reports from French daily Ouest-France that the defender was training with the Arsenal reserves ahead of an official announcement. On 6 July 2010, Koscielny agreed personal terms with Arsenal. Arsenal's initial offer for Koscielny was believed to be in the region of £4million, while they were then prepared to do a deal that would also involve youngster Francis Coquelin moving on loan in the opposite direction, which Lorient rejected. During the summer transfer window of 2010 reports began to emerge in late June that a deal had been reached to bring Koscielny to English club Arsenal for a reported sum of £8.45 million.
"I don't believe any French player would have refused to come and play for Arsenal. It took me four years to go from the bench of Ligue 2 to Arsenal so it is a great achievement. I have been on the crest of a wave for the last few years. But it is just the beginning; I haven't proved anything yet. Arsenal is a reference for football."
Arsenal confirmed the signing on 7 July 2010 and Koscielny was handed the club's number 6 shirt, previously worn by Philippe Senderos, who had moved to Fulham earlier in the summer. Wenger explained he bought Koscienly due to the fact he added height to the team and Arsenal were low on centre backs. Koscielny made his debut against Barnet in a pre-season friendly in July 2010. One month later in his competitive debut against Liverpool at Anfield, he was sent off in the 94th minute for a second bookable offence. Both of his yellow cards were shown beyond 90 minutes. The game ended in a 1–1 draw with both teams having debut players sent off. He scored his first goal for Arsenal on 11 September 2010, in a 4–1 win against Bolton.
Koscielny made his debut in European competition on 15 September 2010, when he partnered Sébastien Squillaci in a 6–0 win over Braga at Emirates Stadium. Koscielny was praised for performances against Sunderland and made a brilliant tackle against Tottenham to stop Aaron Lennon from scoring during their League Cup tie. On 27 October he blocked a shot off the line and provided an assist to Theo Walcott against Newcastle United in the fourth round of the League Cup, where Arsenal went on to win the match 4–0 at St James' Park. Koscielny was given a straight red card in Arsenal's 0–1 loss at home against Newcastle United on 7 November 2010. This was his second sending off of the season.
On 25 January 2011, Koscielny scored the 2nd goal in the 3–0 win over Ipswich Town in the League Cup semi-final second leg win at the Emirates Stadium. Throughout January 2011, Johan Djourou and himself were a part of a mean defence in the Premier that did not concede a goal. On 1 February, he scored his third goal of the season, which proved to be the winner in a 2–1 turn around victory over Everton with a bullet header in the dying minutes of a league clash at the Emirates. Koscielny had arguably his greatest performance to date in an Arsenal-shirt against Barcelona in the first leg of the round of 16 Champions League-match. The match ended in a 2–1 home win for Arsenal. Koscielny's performances were applauded and praised in many media reports of the game. Arsenal-legend and former defender, Martin Keown, said his performance was "impressive" and "magnificent throughout". Sadly, Laurent was involved in the crucial goal for Birmingham City in the League Cup Final where there was a catastrophic mix-up between himself and goalkeeper Wojciech Szcz?sny. Arsenal lost the match 2–1 and their 'trophyless' drought stretched on.
Koscielny started the 2011–12 season very well with recently-fit defender Thomas Vermaelen beside him. He was injured and taken off the pitch after barely 10 minutes into the game in a 2–0 home loss to Liverpool. However, he returned in arguably Arsenal's worst match in the Premier League, losing 8–2 to Manchester United. On 17 September, Koscielny scored an own goal as Arsenal lost 4–3 to Blackburn Rovers in the Barclays Premier League. He went on to pick up a man of the match display away at Marseille, where Arsenal won 1–0 at the Stade Vélodrome, keeping their first clean sheet in a UEFA Champions League away game since 18 August 2009 against Celtic, where the Gunners had won 2–0. On 29 October, Koscielny received praise for his solid performance in Arsenal's 5–3 away win against Chelsea. He scored his first goal in the 2011–12 season on 2 January 2012 in a 2–1 away defeat against Fulham. He scored his first Champions League goal against AC Milan in a 3–0 victory in the Round of 16's second leg. On 13 May 2012 he scored the winner in a 3–2 win against West Brom to make sure that Arsenal finished third in the Premier League. He was voted as the fourth most important player by the fans in Arsenal's Player of the Season poll for his performances throughout the 2011–12 season.
On 24 July 2012, Laurent signed a new long term contract with Arsenal, around 5 years. His first goal of the season was a late equalizer against Manchester City on 23 September 2012 in a match which ended 1–1 at the Etihad Stadium. On 30 October, he scored a header from a corner in the 88th minute against Reading in the League Cup, helping Arsenal come back from 4–0 down to eventually win the game 7–5.
On 13 March 2013, Koscielny scored against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the UEFA Champions League Last 16. His goal put Arsenal 2–0 ahead on the night and level at 3–3 on aggregate, but they still exited the competition on the away goals rule.
On 20 March 2013 Koscielny headed a Theo Walcott free kick back across the box to set up a Per Mertesacker goal against Fulham FC. On 19 May, Per Mertesacker's compatriot Lukas Podolski flicked Theo Walcott's cross with his head to set up a goal for Koscielny. This goal proved to be the goal that secured Champions League football for the Gunners in the 2013–14 season, for the 17th consecutive season.
Koscielny was called up to the French national team on 3 February 2011. Before his call up for France, Koscielny was also eligible to play for Poland and initially considered applying for Polish citizenship. In August 2010, it was reported that he had not submitted an application and cancelled a meeting with Poland national team coach Franciszek Smuda in Warsaw on 7 August. Koscielny later declared that his priority was to play for France.
Koscielny was called up to the French team for the first time on on 3 February 2011, for the team's friendly versus Brazil on 9 February. He was called up to the team once more on 25 August. Koscielny earned his first appearance for the team in a friendly match against the United States on 11 November. He played the entire match in a 1–0 win. He made his first appearance in a major tournament during Euro 2012 when he played the entire match in a 2–0 defeat to Spain in the quarter-finals but was voted Man of the Match by the French media.