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Transfer news, rumours LIVE: Saliba to Tottenham or Arsenal, Griezmann to Barcelona, Man Utd, Liverpool gossip

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The Gunners’ back-line has been a weakness for years but they are generally a more resilient prospect when the 33-year-old is in the side.

It is two-and-a-half years since former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger declared Koscielny as “certainly one of the best defenders in the world” upon signing the contract which he is now desperate to extricate himself from.

Decisions on those players could change if Koscielny continues to try and force through a move back to France.

It is an area Arsenal have to strengthen if they are to break back into the top four next term, hence the wrangling over William Saliba’s proposed £27million move from Saint-Etienne including a clause to keep him at the Ligue 1 side on loan for another year.

Veteran Nacho Monreal is also able to step in as a centre-back but the overall picture at this stage of the transfer window is not of a defence that is primed to noticeably improve next term.

He wants to leave immediately, exacerbating the effect of any delay in securing Saliba and the ongoing absence of Rob Holding as he recovers from anterior cruciate ligament damage in his left knee.

Age and injury – most significantly Achilles tendon trouble which once sidelined him for seven months and will still require daily treatment until retirement – have eroded his effectiveness somewhat but the Gunners can ill afford to lose him now.
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