According to reports in The Express, Southampton are ready to pay a club-record fee to bring Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud to St Mary’s during the January transfer window.
Well, even though Gunners manager Arsene Wenger says the France international won’t be allowed to leave the Emirates Stadium in the New Year, The Express says that Saints are ready to pay more than the £18m they paid to sign Mario Lemina from Juventus to bring the 31-year-old, who scored the equaliser against them in their 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Sunday, to St Mary’s.
The Express says that Giroud is desperate to play regularly with the 2018 World Cup just six months away, and new Everton boss Sam Allardyce is also said to be keen on the Frenchman.
The report adds that the fact the centre-forward rejected a move to the Toffees during the summer because he wants to live in London could give Southampton the upper hand given their location.
The 31-year-old, who has 18 months remaining on his contract, has scored seven goals in 22 appearances in all competitions this term, with the majority of those outings coming from the substitutes’ bench – including against Saints on Sunday.
The Frenchman has often found himself behind club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette, meaning most of his game time has come in the Europa League rather than in the Premier League.
He certainly would be.
While Charlie Austin has hit form in recent weeks Saints are still struggling for goals in general – they have scored 16 in 16 Premier League fixtures – and Giroud’s record of 73 goals in 117 English top flight matches is certainly impressive.
The south coast outfit played some of their best football when they had big target men like Rickie Lambert and Graziano Pelle up top in their preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, and there is no doubt that the France international could play a similar role to those two.
It seems unlikely that Wenger will sell him so it may come down to whether the player really tries to force a move.
If that does happen and Wenger gives the 31-year-old his blessing, Saints will be well placed to sign the Frenchman.
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