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Laurent Koscielny on Bordeaux exile: “I want to establish some truths.”

In an interview with L’Équipe, now exiled Bordeaux defender Laurent Koscielny explained his situation at the club after serious financial concerns pushed Les Girondins to make significant squad changes and look for player sales. The 36-year-old former Arsenal and France centre-back explained: “I don’t usually expose myself to the press [but] I want to establish some truths, for myself but also for the supporters.”

How did you find out that the club would no longer be counting on you?
“On Monday evening, after the side-lining of Mehdi Zerkane and Paul Baysse in the afternoon, the president called my agent to inform him. On Tuesday morning I went to training as usual, but no one came to see me… Then, I had a meeting that afternoon with Gérard Lopez and Admar Lopes, who told me that they wanted to find a solution for the future, but that I could continue to train with the first team.”

Did they tell you they didn’t want you anymore?
“Yes, that’s it.”

Did they give you any reasons for this decision?
“No. None. They just told me that this was their new strategy, and that we would find a solution with the financial director that was good for everyone.”

How did you take it?
“I’m a footballer, so my passion is primarily to play, and also to set an example for my teammates as captain. So, I took it very hard. Let’s just say it was a right slap in the face. But I’m a fighter, I’ll continue to fight and do what it takes to stay at the top level and help the squad so that the team gets the best possible results.”

We understand that the problem is your big contract?
“Yes, that’s it. When I signed in 2019, it was GACP and King Street who started my contract but things have changed since then, and not just a little. We’ve changed owners, then there was Covid, Mediapro… So my salary is a problem for them. I can understand that given the current economic context. I’m ready to listen… But get off the ship? Impossible.”

This summer, the club’s lawyer came to see me shortly before the end of the transfer window in August. She asked me to postpone my salary so that the club could sign players… I said ‘no problem’ and left my money aside. Because, for me, it was important that we strengthened in order to be competitive.”

At your age, questions over your retirement are now inevitable?
“I ask myself those same questions, but that would be the easy way out. I need some time to think… I will sit down quietly and chat with the people who are important to me and we’ll make the best decision for everyone.”

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