Long interviews with Laurent Koscielny are a rare thing.
On the pitch, the Arsenal defender is one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League. Off it? He’s quiet, reserved, and likes to play Scrabble.
Speaking to L’Equipe magazine, the 31-year-old opened up about various aspects of his life (he only has two cars: one for his wife and one for himself, a Mercedes) rarely touched upon previously.
For example, he gave an update on the accordion factory he helped save in 2014 in his hometown by injecting €600k in the business (it’s going well), even though he never wanted people to know about it.
However, the conversation quickly turned to football, and more specifically Arsène Wenger.
The French manager, still in charge of Arsenal after 20 years, bought him from Lorient back in 2010, with many questioning the decision straight away, claiming Koscielny wasn’t Premier League material.
But Wenger’s gamble paid off, and Koscielny will forever be grateful towards him for that.
He said: “If I’m with the France team, with Arsenal, it’s because of him. He’s the one who brought me here. He’s the one who had the balls to buy me from Lorient when I was a nobody.
“It was my first year in Ligue 1, at a mid table club. It was a gamble for a club like Arsenal, one of the top 10 in Europe. He took a risk to bring me here, to help me grow as a player and as a man. I’ll be in his debt for all my career.”
Koscielny, much like another Arsenal success story in Iain Wright, was a late bloomer, only breaking into Ligue 1 at 24 years of age.
The rest is history: 258 appearances for Arsenal, 22 goals, four assists, 35 yellow cards and two red cards.