Laurent Koscielny, Miguel Almiron & the UEFA Nations League

Laurent Koscielny

Yesterday Laurent Koscielny announced that he was retiring from international football. It did not exactly come as a surprise.

The 33-year missed out on a World Cup winners medal this summer and admitted that it was hard to see his team-mates lift the trophy in Moscow.

It seems Koscielny’s decision was driven by a lack of communication from French manager Didier Deschamps.

The Frenchman picked up an Achilles injury back in May, hobbling off after 12 minutes in the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

Koscielny claims that since his injury, Deschamps has contact him just one – wishing him happy birthday.

He made 51 appearances for France, making his debut in November 2011, and took part in the European Championships in 2012 and 2016, as well as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“The injury is one thing, the victory of the World Cup is another,” Koscielny said. “I think the victory certainly made me much more psychologically hurt than my injury.

“I think I gave the France team what I could. For me, my injury has not changed anything. The Blues are over, after that, I will always be a supporter of the French team but what is certain is that I will not put on the blue jersey.

“I have a new state of mind, there will be the Laurent before and the Laurent after injury. I want to continue to Arsenal, I want to return quickly. I want to fight.”

At his age and with his injury record, you have to wonder how long there is left in the career of Koscielny.

With his Arsenal contract set to expire in 18 months, his career in London is also coming to an end. It would not be a surprise if this summer he returns to France to see out the rest of his career.

PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 28: Laurent Koscielny of France applauds the fans after the International Friendly match between France and Spain at Stade de France on March 28, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Miguel Almiron

We are pretty much equidistance between the closure of the summer transfer window and the opening of the January window.

It is no surprise therefore that we have seen an increase in transfer speculation as  outlets look to increase their advertising revenue.

One name that seems to be at the top of Arsenal related news is Miguel Almiron.

The 24-year old Paraguayan has been linked heavily to Arsenal recently with increasing intensity. My take on it is that his agents are using Arsenal to get his name in the papers, to make it clear his client is available for a potential move to Europe.

He has had a good season in the MLS, with 12 goals and 14 assists. However the step up from America to the Premier League is a huge one.

Whilst the scouting reports that I have read highlight him as a good player:

“Almiron is the epitome of a 21st-century playmaker: strong in the pass, equipped with outstanding vision and technical ability, but also with the physical attributes to match.”

The consensus seems to be that Almiron is both a technical brilliant, two-footed play maker, but also has the industry and work rate to press the opposition high up the pitch.

With Aaron Ramsey set to leave the club at the end of the season, Almiron could provide a decent, low-cost understudy for Mesut Ozil / Aaron Ramsey replacement. Although I am unsure if he is that much of a step up from Alex Iwobi.

There is talk that Atlanta are holding out for double the £12.6million that Arsenal were rumoured to have “agreed”. At this point he no longer becomes the cheap understudy.

Almiron’s statistics this season are not too dissimilar to former Arsenal star Carlos Vela.

In a league where Bradley Wright-Phillips finished 3rd top scorer, you have to question the quality of the league.

Ultimately, the deal could come down to whether Sven Mislintat believes that the MLS and Premier League are too far apart in terms of quality. And whether they see the point in investing for cover for Ozil when you already have Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Keep an eye on this one.

UEFA Nations League

What a load of rubbish. Glorified friendly’s. Scrap it now.


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