What Can Arsenal Expect From Giroud?
After the torment and frustration of last summer, Arsenal fans finally have that buzz of pre-season excitement after sealing a move for Olivier Giroud, following that of Lukas Podolski: two of europe’s leading marksmen and genuine world class talent. Podolski is familiar to even the most casual of Gooners, given his international pedigree (100+ caps at just 26 – the youngest European footballer to achieve that milestone!) but not too many can claim – YouTube aside – to have seen that much of our latest signing. wearethenorthbank.com asked Twitter superstar and French football fanatic, Jamie Dalton to give us an insight into what we can expect to see from Giroud in the red and white.
I wonder if I’ve woken up in a parallel universe this morning. Two international strikers purchased by Arsenal and we haven’t even hit July yet. Olivier Giroud is our 2nd summer purchase to compliment the arrival of Lukas Podolski and while that spells obvious questions about the future of Robin Van Persie, I’m going to bask in the glow of a new signing while time allows me.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I’m an avid watcher of Ligue 1 – predominantly St-Etienne but I also have soft spots for both Montpellier and Lille. Both are relatively small clubs who like to play football the right way and who have enjoyed success in the face of massive spending from the likes of Marseille, Lyon and most recently PSG.
I watch Montpellier and Lille when St-Etienne aren’t playing, or on at a different time, and the two players that have stood out in that time are Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud. I’ll also admit that when Giroud was first linked with Arsenal I had my doubts whether he’d be able to cut it in the Premier League. I even made the dreaded comparison with Maroaune Chamakh for about 5 seconds, until I re-watched most of Montpellier’s games from last season and paid attention to Giroud’s movement and goals: They’re not similar at all.
In modern times, Giroud is a relative late starter. He penned his first pro deal at the age of 19 with Grenoble, then moved to Istres where he spent one season before making a move to Tours in the summer of 2008. It’s at Tours where Giroud first met Laurent Koscielny and the two have been friends ever since, Koscielny being a keen advocate of Giroud moving from the Mosson to The Emirates, but it wasn’t just Arsenal’s No.6 who took a keen interest in Giroud; The striker had made it onto Arsene Wengers’ radar.
The striker then almost moved to Celtic before switching to Montpellier where he’s made an instant impact, in only his second season in top-flight football, with 21 goals firing Montpellier to their first Ligue 1 title. Giroud’s goals also landed him the top-scorer accolade.
Don’t be fooled by Giroud’s pretty-boy looks. Arsenal are getting a fighter, somebody who has travelled the lengths and depths of France in all standards looking for his big chance, a player lucky to be born into wealth, but unlucky with his relative late start in Football, until Louis Nicollin took him to the Stade Mosson. The rest is history.
Arsenal are getting a striker with all the attributes to succeed, a good work ethic, strong and someone who is well liked within the Montpellier dressing room. They’re getting somebody who knows where to be when he’s supposed to be there and more importantly someone who is assured of his own abilities. He can bring players into the game with his link-up play and fine close control as well as being on the end of a sweeping move. He has a sweet left peg and a silky first touch. His style will suit Arsenal because Montpellier play a similar pace/passing game at which he is the focal point and he’s a player that will bring added danger to crossed balls and set-pieces.
There always is the danger that he won’t fit in or take too long to adapt but you take these risks with every signing you make, and having seen Giroud break out from Ligue 1 in the manner he has, I don’t have any doubts.