Saturday 24 February 2018

Lyon have a rival in their bid to sign Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and they may be ready to make a bigger offer

Olivier Giroud has said he wants to stay at Arsenal
Olivier Giroud has said he wants to stay at Arsenal

Jeremy Wilson

West Ham United are challenging Lyon for the signing of Olivier Giroud and are ready to make the France and Arsenal striker the most expensive player in their history.

Arsenal are trying to complete their own club-record deal for Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette that will place a further question mark over Giroud and, while Arsène Wenger would still ideally like to keep his range of attacking options, he knows that the 30-year-old wants regular first-team football ahead of next summer’s World Cup.

It means that Arsenal are likely to be open to selling Giroud if they can complete a deal for Lacazette – which would cost £49 million before potential add-ons – and West Ham would like to make the former Montpellier striker the attacking centrepiece of their summer.

They are understood to be willing to match or even marginally exceed Giroud’s current £120,000-a-week salary and pay a transfer fee of around £20 million for a player with three years still remaining on his contract.

Giroud is highly valued by Wenger, not least for how he provides such a distinct attacking option, but he struggled to start regularly even last season when he was scoring at the fastest rate of any Arsenal player. Although Arsenal are still hoping to sign two from Lacazette and Monaco’s Kylian Mbappé and Thomas Lemar, they are also preparing for departures.

As well as Giroud, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could leave in search of more regular first-team football. He finished last season strongly but sees his future in central midfield and, with Liverpool interested, is currently facing a stand-off with Arsenal over their contract offer.

Wojciech Szczesny is likely to leave, with Juventus interested following his loan spell with Roma, while the futures of Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, David Ospina and Mathieu Debuchy are also uncertain.

Alexis Sánchez is another expected to leave and, while Mesut Özil has been seeking a higher contract offer, he is understood to have fewer alternatives. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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