Lorient boss expects Koscielny to leave

Arsenal have received a boost in their pursuit of Lorient centre-back Laurent Koscielny with his coach admitting he expects the young Frenchman to be playing at Emirates Stadium next season.

Having reportedly seen two bids of around £4 million knocked back, Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger has sweetened the deal by allowing Arsenal’s French under-18 defender Francis Coquelin to join the Brittany-based outfit on a season-long loan next term.

Wenger has made no secret of his desire to bolster his ageing defence this summer, with Sol Campbell, William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre all tipped to leave Arsenal.

He is thought to have made 24-year-old Koscielny his number one target, and Lorient coach Christian Gourcuff has revealed he expects the move to go through.

“Laurent will leave,” Gourcuff told L’Equipe.

“If Arsenal really want him, they will have to pay the right fee.

“To replace him we will do what we’re used to doing – even if the transfer fee will not be re-invested on a new central defender.”

Should Koscielny complete his move to the Premier League next month, it will complete a rapid rise to fame for the promising centre-back.

He only joined Lorient from Tours FC last summer before going on to earn rave reviews in helping his team to a seventh-placed finish in Ligue 1 last year.

Wenger is currently in South Africa working as a pundit for French TV and is expected to complete the deal when he returns next month.

By James Martini

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