Could Giroud replace van Persie?
Published: 21.07.12 / Written by: David Gold
As Arsenal ponder their options following the bombshell that Robin van Persie will not sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium, they may already have an answer to the problem.
His name is Olivier, and he signed from Montpellier this summer. Giroud was the top scorer in the French league last season and was key as his team shocked Paris St Germain and Lille to storm to the league title. Arsenal bought him to bolster their attack and give them a new source of goals, given how reliant they were on the Dutchman last season to find the net.
If van Persie stays, it would be ideal. Giroud is a little bit of a late starter in the game, in some ways similar to Didier Drogba in that respect, coming onto the scene later than most. He came through the Clairefontaine academy but struggled to make an impact in his youth with Grenoble. He scored only twice though for the club and was sold to Istres. He scored 14 for them, but one match changed everything. Four goals in 2009 against SS Jean D’Arc in the French Cup and then a repeat of that feat against Arles the following season saw him start a superb campaign, scoring 21 times to be the top scorer in Ligue 2.
That led to his move to Montpellier. His first season saw him just score 12 times in a season when the club were actually the second lowest scorers in the league – only Arles got fewer. But last season they were on fire, and Giroud was the man at the centre of things as they started the season in super style.
What this shows is that Giroud is a player who is able to succeed wherever he goes, but only after a period of time settling in. Arsenal will hope that changes in London but they cannot bank on it. For that reason having Robin van Persie stay for a season would be hugely advantageous for Giroud’s development, but the player has the attributes to fill the Dutchman’s boots .
A 6”3 striker, unlike Marouane Chamakh, he doesn’t need the ball played to his head to shine. That is why he should be better than the Moroccan for a start. Strong, intelligent as well as quick, Giroud is a real team player, and can play the lone front man role perfectly. He is also left footed with a powerful shot and good finish, quite like van Persie.
His great season with Montpellier saw him go to the Euro 2012 Championships for France. Giroud starred against Germany earlier in the season in a friendly, and he has certainly shown himself capable of making that jump up to the Premier League. If he settles, he should be able to score regularly for Arsenal. If he can do that, the fans may be a little less concerned about their talismanic captain leaving this summer.