Koscielny overjoyed at £10m move to Arsenal

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The Independent Football

Laurent Koscielny cannot wait to get stuck into the hustle and bustle of the Premier League after moving to Arsenal. Arsène Wenger had tracked the 24-year-old defender for some time, as Koscielny impressed in the French league, and is understood to have cost the club in the region of £10m from Lorient.

Koscielny, who is also eligible to play for Poland, is set to partner Thomas Vermaelen at the heart of the Arsenal defence, taking the No 6 shirt once worn by former captain Tony Adams. Wenger was in need of cover at the back with Sol Campbell still mulling over a new one-year deal and fellow veterans William Gallas and Mikaël Silvestre set to leave after the end of their contracts.

The former Tours player is relishing the challenge of such a step up in class. He said: "It's true that it's a great league, physical. I'll have to adapt and give everything in training to get to the level for the Premier League.

"It's a great honour to leave to join such a club. It's not a small club. They have all these star players. I'll live in London and play in the Champions League. Arsenal isn't a club like any other. It's a very big club in Europe. I'll be training with great players, some who are still at the World Cup."

Koscielny will not take anything for granted, and said: "I have a certain apprehension. It's the start of a new adventure. I will give my all to play in the team."

Discussing his new manager, Koscielny said: "In Arsène Wenger, Arsenal have one of the best managers in the world and I can't wait to work with him and do my best for the Arsenal supporters."

Wenger, who is currently away at the World Cup in his role as a media pundit for French television, believes Koscielny has all the attributes needed to become a successful member of the Arsenal squad seeking to end a five-year trophy drought.

"We identified him as a very strong centre-half, who has made big progress very quickly," said Wenger. "He has shown he is mentally strong, he's a fighter and a very strong competitor. Koscielny is a great addition to our squad."

Most of Arsenal's players have now returned to the club's Hertfordshire training complex this week ahead of the traditional pre-season friendly at Barnet on 17 July. Those who have been in international action will get extra time off.

Wenger has already secured the capture of long-term target Marouane Chamakh, the Morocco striker, to bolster the Arsenal attack, which could be missing Nicklas Bendtner ahead of their opening game of the new Premier League season at Liverpool on 15 August.

Koscielny was sent off for a professional foul on Chamakh earlier this year in a game in France but has said he is looking forward to renewing their acquaintance. Meanwhile, Fulham's Australia international goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has also been linked with a switch to the Emirates Stadium, with Wenger keen to add a new keeper to his squad.