Arsenal move for leading French league goal scorer Olivier Giroud
ARSENAL have made an enquiry to Montpellier over the availability of striker Olivier Giroud, who was the top goalscorer in the French league last season.
Arsene Wenger had asked for regular scouting reports on Giroud and that interest had been firmed up with some informal dialogue with the newly crowned champions of France's Ligue 1.
Sources in France have suggested that Arsenal would be prepared to offer Marouane Chamakh and £6.5 million for Giroud, although it is understood that no firm offer has gone in.
The £11.9 million signing of Germany striker Lukas Podolski has already been confirmed and Arsenal intend to keep Robin van Persie, despite his current failure to sign a new contract, but Wenger is still also hoping to recruit at least one other forward this summer.
Blackburn’s Junior Hoilett and Fulhm’s Clint Dempsey are other players on his radar but Wenger instructed Giles Grimandi, his chief scout in France, to carefully monitor Giroud over the last few months.
At 6ft 3ins tall and around 14 stone, Giroud would certainly provide a powerful physical presence and a different sort of option to Van Persie. The 25 year-old was central to Montpellier’s unexpected success in winning the French league, scoring 21 goals. Giroud scored his first international goal in the 2-1 win over Germany at the end of February and is in the France squad that is in the same group as England at Euro 2012.
Giroud, himself, has said that he loves the "French feel at Arsenal but there is a feeling in France that Montpellier will push to keep him for another season, especially as they have qualified directly into the Champions League phase. Bayern Munich are also interested in Giroud and have held talks with the 25-year-old’s agent.
The recruitment of new strikers at Arsenal is also likely to depend on what happens this summer with Van Persie, Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela and Ju-Young Park.
Vela and Bendtner have finished loan spells at Real Sociedad and Sunderland respectively, while Chamakh and Park were conspicuous last season by their collective lack of impact in support of Van Persie. Between them, they scored just two goals.