Nicolas Pepe deal "not closed", says Emery ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Angers
Thursday 1 August 2019 09:46, UK
Arsenal head coach Unai Emery says he is “fighting to convince” captain Laurent Koscielny to stay at the Emirates.
Koscielny, who refused to travel on Arsenal's pre-season tour of the USA, is keen to return to France and has asked the Premier League club to release him from his contract, one year before it expires.
French side Rennes have reignited their interest in Koscielny, but are yet to meet Arsenal's valuation for the 33-year-old centre-back. Like Koscielny, Rennes are hoping for a free transfer.
Emery insists he is optimistic of dissuading the Frenchman from leaving.
"Now it is between the club and him. I fight to convince him, but I respect his decision, a very personal decision, and that situation can only manage with one argument," said Emery.
"I haven't lost my hope that he will be with us next year. But at the moment his decision is to leave and we are also thinking if we can improve with other players and how we can help with him.
"But at the moment his decision is to leave and we are also thinking if we can improve with other players and how we can help with him."
"With respect it's better for us, it's better for the team, and it's changing our idea with the centre back, because if he is here with us this season, it's very different than if he isn't with us.
"At the moment it's a very personal decision, and we are respecting that. I am speaking with him and we are going to find the best solution, but overall we need a player like him."
Ahead of Wednesday's friendly against French side Angers, Emery discussed Arsenal's pursuit of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, who is understood to be in London ahead of finalising a £72m move to the Emirates.
"This one at the moment is not closed, but he is one we are following," he said.
"We are working on the possibilities to sign players. We signed Ceballos, and we have a possibility with Pepe.
"We are speaking about a lot of players, we want to select on players who can really help us, give us big performances and improve our squad. We have different options."
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