Arsenal line up Portugal star to replace rebel Koscielny

Arsenal are reportedly eyeing Benfica defender Ruben Dias as a possible replacement for Laurent Koscielny.

Gunners centre-back Koscielny, 33, has refused to go on the club’s pre-season American tour.

The France international, who has another year of his contract left, has been linked with French clubs Bordeaux, Rennes and Lyon – and has made it clear he wants to leave.

His stance is a major headache for boss Unai Emery ahead of the new season and Koscielny now faces disciplinary action from the club.

Koscielny is one of just three senior centre-backs in Emery’s squad and one of the others, Shkodran Mustafi, is surplus to requirements and is expected to be sold.

Dias, 22, has played 11 times for Portugal and helped them win the Nations League last month, playing in games against Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The Daily Mail say Arsenal, who have previously been linked with Dias, have revived their interest in him in light of the Koscielny saga.

Meanwhile, former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright has strongly criticised Koscielny for his conduct.

In a video on his YouTube channel, Wright said: “For our captain to refuse to go on a pre-season tour after nine years of unbelievable service, to kind of destroy your legacy a little bit in respect of refusing to play for a club that you’ve professed love for, is something that is baffling me.”