Scottish champions Celtic have endured their fair share of transfer blunders over the years, with one nightmare tale that the Parkhead outfit will be hoping to forget is their failure to land prolific Frenchman, Olivier Giroud.
The veteran marksman is currently proving yet again just what a talent he is on the world stage, with the 36-year-old having proved vital in Les Bleus’ thumping 4-1 win over Australia in the holders’ opening game at the World Cup in Qatar.
The ruthless goal machine has gone into the tournament off the back of something of a hot streak at club level for AC Milan, having been “on fire” so far this term – in the words of journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft – scoring nine goals and providing five assists in just 19 games in all competitions for the Serie A side.
That stunning start to the season has ensured that the evergreen talent now boasts a remarkable haul of 246 goals in 610 games in his club career to date, having enjoyed profitable spells in his homeland, as well as with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, prior to moving to Italy.
That career path could well have been somewhat different, however, with those back in Glasgow having seemingly come close to landing the clinical forward back in January 2010, during the striker’s stint at Ligue 2 outfit, Tours.
The suggestion heading into that winter window was that the Old Firm outfit were the ‘favourites’ to land the emerging menace for a reported fee of around £2.5m, albeit with the 6 foot 4 ace ultimately joining Montpellier later that year.
Giroud himself has only recently admitted that he had been keen on making the move to Parkhead at the time, only to be persuaded to remain in France amid potential doubts over the quality of the Scottish Premiership.
Not being able to tempt the Chambery-born ace to move to Scotland remains a notable source of frustration as far as the Hoops are concerned, with that January window ultimately seeing the club bring in Robbie Keane on loan – who would only stay for six months despite netting 16 goals – and Morten Rasmussen, who played just 13 games, as centre-forward alternatives.
As for Giroud, the rest, as they say, is history, with the deadly asset going on to net 39 goals in just 85 games and win the Ligue 1 title during his time at Montpellier, before sealing a £12m switch to north London in 2012.
A decade on from a switch that made the striker something of a household name, the £76k-per-week ace still has that golden touch, having been on fire again in Qatar. Indeed, he netted twice during the win over the Socceroos to get Didier Deschamps’ men off to the perfect start in the defence of their international crown.
Those two strikes ensured that the typically ruthless ace is breaking records as he now sits level with footballing icon Thierry Henry on the all-time scoring list for France, with it perhaps likely that the Milan star will only add to his tally of 51 goals as the tournament progresses.
While the 115-cap man’s overall impact may have been limited – making just 19 touches – he did prove a real focal point in attack after winning 75% of his aerial duels and also remaining composed in possession after losing the ball on just two occasions, with his match rating of 8.4, as per SofaScore, only bettered by teammates Antoine Griezmann and Adrien Rabiot.
On the evidence of that showing, Giroud – who was likely only thrust into the side due to an injury to Karim Benzema – will continue to flourish on the global stage, with Celtic once again left to rue their previous transfer failure.