What is the situation between Laurent Koscielny and the Girondins de Bordeaux?
We were made to understand that we were no longer counting on Laurent sportingly. He took the time to digest that because it was not planned. On good terms with the club, because Laurent had no intention of leaving the Girondins, we discussed to try to find the best formula for everyone. It’s an open secret that making Laurent leave helps to free up the payroll. We have a good relationship with the club, so we tried to make everyone happy.
What did you achieve?
On a change of function about which the club will communicate in some time. Laurent is no longer part of the workforce and therefore of the payroll, but he is still part of the Girondins. His role is already defined, the club will say more. I specify that it is also in order to help the Girondins, because Laurent could very well have remained as a player.
What reasons were given to you?
It is a choice of the president (Gérard Lopez, editor’s note) that we respect. He clearly thought that Laurent was not the man for the job, on the sporting level, to help the Girondins to maintain themselves.
Is it also because his contract weighs very heavily on the club’s finances?
In the club’s current finances, yes. It should be remembered that Laurent is more the victim of a project that was sold to him two and a half years ago. However, he had two opportunities in clubs currently in the top 5 of the championship. He chose the Girondins, a club that his father supported. Yes, his contract is out of step with current finances, but that’s not what weighs down the club’s finances when you know the salaries of each other. Last summer, we said to Laurent: “Our payroll is regulated, our situation is complicated, can you help us by reducing your salary so that we can recruit? »
For a single month or the whole season?
Over the whole season. We are talking about almost a quarter of his remuneration, or several hundred thousand euros. So it annoys me when I read or hear that he’s not going to Lorient for money. If Laurent had felt he had the mental capacity to go there, he could have played for free or in the match.
Why does he not return to Lorient, who wants to attract him during this January transfer window?
Because he doesn’t feel ready. Players who have lived through a maintenance season tell you that it is the equivalent of two years as it is mentally tough. Lorient is in a difficult situation, it would have taken Laurent mentally 150% ready to help them and today this is not the case. He has been attacked for three weeks on his sports performance, his lifestyle… If he had a poor lifestyle, you think he could have had a career of more than 18 years with more than 600 games ? It’s ridiculous.
He is not going there because he is engaged with the Girondins at least until the end of the season, therefore.
We did everything with the Girondins some time ago so that would have put everything back on the table. But the only real reason is that Laurent has been living through a media cabal for a few weeks. We forget that footballers are human beings, and we talk about them as if they were robots without feelings or family. When you get criticized as has been the case for X weeks, you may be solid, you are touched. Today, Laurent is touched.
Is his playing career over?
It’s possible. This is what he will have to face and think about in the coming weeks, and make a decision.
His state of mind and his involvement this season have been singled out. What do you answer?
To discuss just yesterday (Sunday) with some of his teammates, and not the least in the Bordeaux workforce, that’s not at all what the guys are saying. I even understood that some players cried when Laurent made his farewell speech. I don’t think there would be these reactions if Laurent caused a problem in the locker room.
Did he fulfill his role as captain well?
More than many captains I know of at other clubs. If he decides to continue, I wish many clubs to have a captain like him. If you have the opportunity to speak to Jean-Louis Gasset, he will tell you the same thing.
Had he received any cautions or warnings from management earlier in the season?
Absolutely not. What he said in a newspaper (L’Equipe), “I took a fist in the face”, that’s exactly it. We still have his trainer, incidentally ex-coach of a great nation, who said that he remained his captain a few days after the announcement of the management. It means what it means. If he had a sporting problem, it would be above all with his coach.
He has had several injuries over the past year. Could it have played?
Until he was sidelined, Laurent played 11 out of 17 games. If you talk to me about Ramos at PSG, then we can talk about an injury problem. Last season, at the risk of endangering his health, he did a titanic job to be able to return as soon as possible (at the end of the season, after an Achilles tendon problem, editor’s note). He played for more than three months undercover because the Girondins needed him.
What do you think is the real problem?
His salary. If Laurent earned a quarter of what he earns today, he wouldn’t have been a problem at all. When we know these situations, and I am well placed as a coach’s son (Rolland Courbis is Stéphane’s father, editor’s note), we need this kind of experienced players in such a season.
Would he have agreed to lower his salary once again?
If we had been asked, we would have taken the time to reflect.
Did he receive a check for five million euros in compensation?
The Girondins will communicate on it. But not at all. It’s not even a question of less or more. There was never any question of a check for five million euros. A contract was drawn up on his arrival, with X remuneration, a contract as a player and then as a manager on which Laurent would have switched when he no longer had his legs.
Did he receive compensation?
Not at all. We did not terminate contrary to what was written.
Could he continue beyond this season in his new role?
It is open. We talk on good terms with each other. Laurent switches to other functions. This allows you to take your salary out of the payroll. Depending on how the collaboration goes in the coming weeks, they will decide if it continues or no name.
Is his salary the same?
What do you regret in this case?
What is surprising, and I said it again to the general manager of the Girondins (Thomas Jacquemier, editor’s note) just now, is the amount of information that comes out on everything and anything. It really is a big surprise. Maybe a coincidence… What we forget is that when he comes two and a half years ago, Laurent is captain of Arsenal, not just any club, and we sell him a Champions League project , we talk to him about Giroud, about certain players, and since he has been there he has been fighting for maintenance.
Would you have liked to be notified earlier, or more discreetly?
If they had come to see us in December and told us “we are not happy with Laurent”, which is entirely management’s right, we would have sat around a table to find a solution in January. When the president, the sports director or the coach makes a decision, there is no problem. If Laurent had wanted to be a troublemaker, he would have stayed as a player at the Girondins because no one could push him to terminate his contract. But he didn’t want to bother the club.