Arsenal signs French defender Koscielny

Arsenal signed center back Laurent Koscielny from French club

Lorient on Wednesday as uncertainty surrounded the futures of other


As the 24-year-old Koscielny’s “long-term contract” was

announced by Arsenal, Sol Campbell was still mulling over a new

one-year deal. William Gallas and Mikael Silvestre are out of


“Koscielny is a central defender with great ability who

performed extremely well last season for Lorient,” Arsenal manager

Arsene Wenger said. “We identified him as a very strong center

half, who has made big progress very quickly. He has shown he is

mentally strong, he’s a fighter and a very strong competitor.”

Financial details were not disclosed, but reports said the deal

was worth 10 million pounds ($15 million).

Wenger will be hoping Koscielny can help Arsenal win its first

trophy since the 2005 FA Cup and first Premier League title since


“I came here to improve myself and win titles,” Koscielny

said. “Arsenal is a club where many young players get the chance

to play in the Premier League and that is one of the reasons I

chose Arsenal. They have a lot of young players full of quality and

there are plenty of French players, too.”

Koscielny expects fellow French players Samir Nasri, Gael

Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Abou Diaby will help him settle in north


“It is nice for French players to come and join a team like

Arsenal, where there are so many other French players,” Koscielny

said. “It will help me to integrate easily in the team.”

While born in Tulle, France, Koscielny is still eligible to play

for Poland, which is co-hosting the 2012 European Championship.

“I am still thinking about it,” he said. “It is a hard

decision to take because I have two countries and if I choose one I

cannot go back to play for the other one. So I have to be sure I

make the right decision. For the moment I would rather take my time

and wait to be sure.”