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It has been on the cards for weeks, and finally Arsenal Football Club have officially announced that Olivier Giroud is a Gunner. While no official announcement has been made on how much Arsenal have paid Montpellier for the services of the French striker, it is widely believed that the Gunners have come very close to the Â£12.8 million figure quoted in the player's release clause.
Giroud is an old fashioned type center-forward. Strong and physical when on the ball, effective in the air and with a powerful finish to boot. Interestingly, he has played for a season with Arsenal's French center-back Laurent Koscielny at Tours, and Arsene Wenger no doubt quizzed Koscielny about the player's work ethic before making the purchase.
Giroud had a disappointing European Championhips this summer, barely getting any game time despite fellow striker Karim Benzema not scoring a single goal in the competition. Giroud's two appearances in the competition were from the substitutes bench, and he failed to really get involved in either game. While that may have worked to Arsenal's advantage in terms of the Gunners not facing any competition for the striker's signature, it does raise the question about whether he is the sort of player who would need to start games week-in week-out to really have an impact at the club, rather than the sort who can come on during a game and produce a goal when needed.
Arsenal fans will be happy about the fact that they have signed a winner, with Giroud leading unfancied Montpellier to the Ligue 1 title last season by scoring 21 goals in 36 appearances. Arsenal in the midst of a 7-year trophy drought have the need for players for whom winning is a habit, and Giroud's signing will certainly foster that belief in the team.
Manager ArsÃ¨ne Wenger was effusive in his praise of Giroud, telling the club's official website: â€œWe are delighted to have secured the signing of Olivier Giroud. He has a very good physical presence and is exceptional in the air, with a great work ethic. We are excited about Olivier joining us and he will add an additional dimension to our attacking options next season.
Wenger continued, "He has proved that he is capable of performing at the top level with club and country, and we saw what a big influence he was in Montpellierâ€™s championship-winning side last season. We all look forward to Olivier joining us and seeing him play in an Arsenal shirt.â€
Giroud himself added, â€œI was attracted by the philosophy of football and ArsÃ¨ne Wengerâ€™s 'touch' at this club. I have always admired Arsenal with its great history and reputation, and I now hope to achieve great things here. Iâ€™m very proud to be a Gunner and I will give my best for all the Arsenal fans.â€
Giroud is Arsenal's second signing of the post season, following the arrival of German international Lukas Podolski from FC Cologne. Gunners fans will hope that the new signings will convince skipper and star striker Robin van Persie of the club's ambitions, and he opts to sign a new contract to stay on with the Gunners.
The arrival of the newcomers is also likely to clearly signal an end to the Arsenal careers of Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin among others, and the Gunners will attempt to get the players off their books at the earliest while also trying to maximize their return on investment. Bendtner in particular is a very similar to Giroud, and the Danish striker's Arsenal future looks certain to be over (if it wasn't already considering his recent comments about the club).
Recent acquistions from France have tended to take a season to settle down in the Premier League, with Koscielny and Gervinho both struggling to adapt to the pace and the physical nature of life in England during their first season. Arsenal fans though will hope that Giroud can hit the ground running, and it will be interesting to see whether Arsene Wenger opts to change his 4-2-3-1 formation to incorporate two central strikers, or drops Van Persie deeper to a second striker role in order to accomodate Giroud.
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