Laurent Koscielny has moved one step closer to leaving Arsenal after reportedly agreeing on personal terms with Rennes, reports talksports.com.
The defender, who took over from Per Mertesacker as the club’s captain last year, has made over 350 appearances for the Gunners since joining the club from Lorient in 2010.
The Frenchman refused to go on the club’s tour of the US in order in an attempt to force through a return to his native France. And his refusal came as he was believed to be upset at a supposed broken promise from Arsenal that he would be allowed to return to Ligue 1 ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
However, according to French outlet RMC, Rennes are in pole position to sign the central defender after agreeing on personal terms with the 33-year-old.
Rennes, who finished tenth in Ligue 1 last season, are currently coached by the highly-rated Julien Stéphan and he is keen to add an experienced defender to his side’s ranks.
Former boss Arsene Wenger, who signed Koscielny 10 years ago, has admitted he is ‘surprised’ by the situation in north London.
“I am very surprised by the current situation,” Wenger told L’Equipe. “I do not know the whole story, but Laurent’s behaviour with me has always been beyond reproach. I think highly of Laurent as a man.”
Meanwhile, current Emirates boss, Unai Emery is on the hunt for Koscielny’s successor but with senior players Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech both leaving the Emirates this summer, the Spaniard has found himself short of options for the role.
Switzerland international Xhaka, 26, is an obvious contender as he is a key member of the starting line-up and has suitable leadership qualities for the role.
But Emery has also stated that Mesut Ozil could be considered, despite the pair reportedly falling out last season and the Spaniard believed to be keen to offload him this summer in an effort to reduce the wage bill at the club.
Emery said: “We have spoken about the captaincy. Last year we had Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech who have left us.
“And Laurent Koscielny, who has a contract, who he told us he wants to leave.
“I want between three and five captains in the team.
“We have Granit, we have Mesut Ozil and Nacho Monreal and there are other players who can also take this position.”