09 May 2014

Kos commits to the cause: a new contract!

Four years and 163 appearances into his time at Arsenal, Laurent Koscielny has signed a new long-term contract that could see him finish out his career at the club. Details are yet to be released, but it's official, at least official enough to be announced at the team-site. The new deal is expected to run for four years, ending in 2018, at which point Kos would be 32 and entering the sunset of his career, if not the twilight.

This comes as great news ahead of Sunday's trip to Carrow Road and solidifies for the time-being the Kos-Per partnership that has been a cornerstone for our improved defensive stolidity since early 2013. After all, we've kept 15 clean sheets from Kos's 31 Prem appearances.

He typifies in many ways what we've come to expect from an Arsène-signing: coming over from Ligue 1 Lorient in 2010, Kos was a relatively unknown quantity but after a few early struggles, established himself with some strong performances, such as his contributions to Arsenal's 2-1 win over Barcelona in the Champions League. He seems to have moved past the undisciplined, brash defender who was susceptible to getting sent off or committing blunders that led to goals (such as the blunder against Birmingham) and has become one of our most valued and dependable defenders, so much so that captain Thomas Vermaelen has to see Kos's new contract as a bit of a signal that his time with the club may very well come to an end as early as this summer. After all, both Kos and Per have inked new contracts this season, and our centre-back pairing for the foreseeable future now lies in their hands.

Among other accomplishments this season, Kos leads the squad in interceptions per game (2.8) and total interceptions (87), clearances per game (7.4), blocked shots per game (0.7) and blocked shots (23), and an impressive three Man of the Match designations (all courtesy of whoscored.com). For what it's worth, he's the fourth-highest rated centre-back in the Prem, behind Skrtel, Davies, and Lovren, each of whom might benefit for playing for sides that force their defenders to rack up more stats. However, I'm not here to make any extended comparisons. I'm just here to extol our man.

Arsène explained that "Laurent has proven himself to be an outstanding player since joining us in 2010 and has showed his quality once again this season. I am delighted he has decided to commit his future to the Club.” Indeed. Congratulations to the man whose heroics late in last season's finale against Newcastle secured fourth place for the 2013-14 campaign. We may not need such similar feats on Sunday, but I certainly would not object to seeing him celebrate his new contract with a goal anyway.