As many Arsenal fans fret over the futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud’s potential departure has slipped under the radar somewhat.
The French striker hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves at the Emirates, and the club is likely going to pay for it this summer with a move to West Ham beginning to come together.
The 30-year old striker’s five-year Arsenal career has been full of head-in-hands moments but also moments of absolute quality. The Frenchman has contributed 98 goals and 41 assists in 227 career games for the Gunners, including 69 and 27 in 164 Premier League games. Being directly involved in a goal ever other game is a wonderful return for the £9.6m Arsene Wenger and the board paid to Montpellier in the summer of 2012.
Giroud also has a solid record with the French national team, scoring 27 goals in 64 caps and 14 in his last 19. Although he isn’t the all-around player that Alexis Sanchez is, there should be a place in every team for a player like the Giroud.
A starting role also doesn’t define his success, as Giroud was one of the most productive substitutes last season. The France international came off the bench in 18 of his 29 league appearances and half of his 12 league goals came off the bench. He assisted the FA Cup winning goal with a lovely chipped pass one minute after coming on the field.
And when he consistently started, he continued to produce. He scored in four straight starts at the turn of the year, including scoring what deserved to be the Goal of the Season against Crystal Palace. He scored twice and assisted another in his three Champions League starts while scoring twice in three FA Cup starts.
The Gunners have won the FA Cup in three of the past four seasons to which Giroud has contributed eight goals and has been directly involved in at least one goal in each final.
The French striker is top class and the majority of clubs would love to have his quality, and that is why West Ham, seemingly always looking for a striker, are tipped to break the bank to sign Giroud. He’s a similar yet definitively superior player to Andy Carroll and could be the transfer that turns West Ham’s league fortunes around.
Slaven Bilic needs a good campaign to keep his job and Giroud is the perfect transfer to make that happen. The French striker needs to be in good form ahead of next summer’s World Cup and in order for that to happen, he needs consistent playing time and that’s not going to happen at Arsenal. Giroud is going to be determined to silence his doubters and prove to Didier Dechamps that he deserves to start in Russia.
If Arsenal do lose Alexis Sanchez, Wenger is rumoured to be pursuing Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette, a younger and arguably better striker than his compatriot Giroud, so he is unlikely to have a consistent role should his Arsenal career continue.
Olivier Giroud is a top Premier League striker who hasn’t been given the chance to show it enough recently and thus both Gunners and French fans have often derided the 30-year-old.
His potential move to West Ham would earn him the respect he truly deserves.