Should Arsenal Give Up Laurent Koscielny if it brings in Karim Benzema?


One of Arsenal’s perennial unsung heroes is Laurent Koscielny. He is a rock on the defensive line and he has become invaluable to the team. His aggression combined with his ability to anticipate the opposition make him one of, if not the best defender in the Premier League.

As such, it only makes sense that teams are going to come knocking at Arsenal’s door in the hopes of scooping up the highly-rated defender.

One such team is the ever-searching, ever-spending Real Madrid, who are looking to upgrade their defense under new coach Rafa Benitez. Benitez has pegged Laurent Koscielny as one of his most-valued targets in this summer’s transfer window, according to Squawka. Based on this table, provided by Squawka, it’s easy to see why:

squawka /

Laurent Koscielny would be an upgrade to just about any defensive line because of his aforementioned anticipation and aggression. It’s a perfect combination that rarely ever seems to go wrong.

However, Arsenal will obviously be reluctant to let the Frenchman go. He is one of Arsene Wenger’s greatest success stories along with being one of the most consistent and arguably irreplaceable players on the team. He’s a threat from set pieces and he’s the perfect partner for Per Mertesacker in the center of defense.

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All that being said, the Metro pondered on a curious scenario. With Manchester United reportedly using David de Gea as a bartering chip to land Karim Benzema, would Arsenal do the same with Laurent Koscielny?

I believe I’ve covered in excruciating detail how much of a positive impact Karim Benzema would have on this team. Even putting aside his inane ability to score goals, he would provide the perfect striker to fit into this Arsenal system. The thought of making it a two-striker system alongside Olivier Giroud could provide immense benefits as well.

And staying on the topic of Giroud, Karim Benzema wouldn’t be a striker acquisition like Jackson Martinez or Carlos Bacca that would shatter his confidence. I’ve said it before, but it can be restated, it would be a friendly competition, something every player at Arsenal needs.

So now that we’ve established that Arsenal really shouldn’t give up Laurent Koscielny but would benefit immensely from acquiring Karim Benzema, would a switch involving the two be worth it?

There are several avenues to navigate to determine if Arsenal would gain more than they lose. First, let’s consider if we can legitimately replace Laurent Koscielny. That answer is a stern no. At least not right away. Gabriel Paulista has shown tremendous potential but to expect him to step right in for Laurent Koscielny, who he actually strongly resembles, may be a stretch. Paulista has also displayed some defensive mistakes and mental lapses and that needs to be ironed away before he’s paired with the lumbering Per Mertesacker.

Consider the following graphic for how valuable Laurent Koscielny is to this team:

laurent-koscielny-stats_3297079 /

Laurent Koscielny is the best defender on this team and arguably in the entire Premier League, so replacing that kind of talent is never going to be easy. But as the saying goes, you normally have to give up quality to get quality in return.

Now let’s consider whether the quality Arsenal would be getting in return would outweigh the quality we would be giving up.

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Karim Benzema is world-class. As a striker, few in the world can rival him. What makes him so much different is he isn’t flashy like Ronaldo or Messi. He isn’t a massive aerial threat like Zlatan. He does just about every little thing in the game right but he’s a master at linking up play as a team member. That in and of itself is the absolute perfect formula for an Arsenal striker.

While Olivier Giroud does not need to be replaced, he could use some casual competition and of all the strikers available, only Karim Benzema would not be detrimental to our current Frenchman. He’s not a carbon copy of Giroud either, so it would not be like having two of the same guy. They have a wonderful international rapport already and that can become even stronger at the club level.

It really is the perfect scenario for all parties involved. So while it would be invaluable to add Karim Benzema, if it comes down to losing the heart and soul of our defense, it is still a toss up. I am incredibly hesitant to make a decision one way or anther.

There is one more avenue we have to make our way down when considering the possibility of this deal. In all likelihood, Laurent Koscielny on his own would not be enough to land Karim Benzema. Whereas Laurent Koscielny is valued at around 17 million pounds (via Transfermarkt), Karim Benzema is valued at nearly 40 million pounds. Rumors speculate that with Benzema making way at Real Madrid, that could drop to around 30 million, but even then, it’s twice of what Koscielny’s market value is at.

Therfore in addition to losing Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal would also have to fork up another 15-20 million pounds. That’s about 40% of our rumored transfer funds for one guy and we lose a premium member of the squad.

That is where the weight tips in the favor of “no, let’s not do this.” If it was Laurent Koscielny for Karim Benzema straight up, I’d say yes, but with extreme hesitancy. Having to add money on top of Koscielny just makes it far too much.

While I would love nothing more than to see Karim Benzema on this team, I don’t think that it’s worth losing Laurent Koscielny and more over.

Next: Is Petr Cech needed after all?

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