Brand-new Girondins de Bordeaux recruit Laurent Koscielny spoke about his return to France - and controversial departure from Arsenal - when he was presented to the media at a press conference on Wednesday.
Former France international stopper Laurent Koscielny justified his decision to leave Arsenal and sign with "historic club" Bordeaux by lauding the new project put in place by the club's directors - and citing the desire to see out his career in a family atmosphere - at his presentation press conference.
How was the first contact with the club?
"Very good. I had been thinking about my career with my family for a while. When the opportunity presented itself for a move to Bordeaux, I weighed the pros and cons. I think it's the right choice. I am very happy to come to this historic club. There is a new project, with a new president. He wants to build a new team. It takes time, but we're hoping to finish in the upper reaches of the table. I know [sporting director] Eduardo Macia and he knows football. His message was very clear with me: he wants me to bring my experience and help this group of young players to gain consistency in results. Plus there is the family atmosphere at the club. Basically, everything came together for me to make the move here."
What are your objectives in sporting terms?
"I was immediately interested in the project, which was to assemble a group of players capable of solidifying the club's foundations and growing together, for two or three years, to try to get the club back among France's best. This is the medium-term objective. I felt very ready to take up this challenge, even if this year there is no European football for us. But we will do everything we can to ensure that we secure it for next season."
Your departure from Arsenal has drawn some criticism...
"I have great respect for Arsenal. I showed my respect on the field. Regarding my transfer, it's not for me to talk about it. I'm playing for Bordeaux now, with a game [the opening-round trip to face Anger SCO on Saturday evening] coming up fast."
Why did you choose Bordeaux when other clubs were interested?
"There were certainly other clubs that asked me, but as I said, the meeting with the club's directors was an important one."
Was it important for you to be closer to Tulle (his hometown)?
"That was part of it too. It's been nine years since I left France. Since I was 19, I've been away from home. If I can combine my sporting life and family life, that will be great. I want to see out my career happy, with my loved ones around me."
Do you think you could be a starter in Angers on Saturday?
"I have spent three weeks with a physical trainer. I've talked with the coach and the lads, but I'm not yet in the rhythm. I need to find my bearings. And I need to get to know my teammates, too, which takes a little time."
Will you be Les Girondins' captain?
"I have a deep respect for Benoît [Costil], and I can't see myself showing up and taking the armband. He will be my captain. I'm not going to just turn up and take his job - but I will do what I can to help him."
What formation will you play in?
"I don't know yet, but the coach has already worked on different systems: three at the back, or four. I am used to playing both systems."