Olivier Giroud hinted at extending his contract with Arsenal, despite limited playing time this season.
The French international striker has 18 months left on his current deal and Arsene Wenger has encouraged Giroud to stay. The Frenchman only made his first Premier League start of the season on Monday due to injuries the scintillating form of Alexis Sanchez. Despite limited opportunities, Giroud has bagged six goals in the league.
Reports in France earlier in the week claimed Giroud had already signed an extension but the 30-year old denied that. “People have been saying I have signed a new contract. It is not true but may be soon.”
Giroud signed for Arsenal in 2012 from Montpellier for £12 million. He’s been an enigmatic player amongst Arsenal fans, especially earlier in his Arsenal career, but has proved to be a valuable member of the squad. His direct style, link up play, and aerial ability make him a unique player at Arsenal and one they can build play around.
Giroud provides Arsenal with a plan B to Alexis. That means that he’s often most effective off the bench as he allows Wenger to change the style of play midway through matches.
Up until this season, Giroud had been Arsenal first choice striker, primarily due to injuries and a lack of alternatives. Wenger has been on the lookout for a new striker since at least 2013, but the emergence of Alexis through the middle this year put those plans on hold and relegated Giroud to the bench.
Giroud admitted it’s been difficult playing a bit part role this season having been such an integral player in seasons past. Regardless, he is looking ahead to making a bigger impact the rest of the season.
“It is all about keeping the focus high. Always keep working hard at training. I was speaking with the boss, we had a couple of discussions together and he explained to me why I hadn’t played too much until here. But football is an everlasting new beginning, as I used to say, and you always have to keep focused and wait for your time.”
With Lucas Perez now healthy and Danny Welbeck returning to full training for the first time since March, Giroud faces even more completion up front. But as long as the club is doing well, Giroud can cope.
“Today I played [against West Brom], I tried to give everything for the team and hopefully things will change for me. But as along as the team is getting better I am happy and I am part of the club since five years and I want to carry on. But we have to see, I need more time of games but we will se in the future. The best thing is to keep within distance of Chelsea.”
There aren’t many strikers like Giroud who are also good enough to make an impact at a club with Arsenal’s ambitions. The fact that he is able to change Arsenal’s style mid game or on a game-to-game basis is reason enough to keep him.