Has Arsene Made the Right Call on Giroud?

By on July 12, 2017

As Arsenal start their preparations for the 2017/18 with a tour of Australia and China, the focus as far as the media is concerned falls firmly on two players. This is Gunners fans’ first chance to see Alexandre Lacazette in a red and white jersey while questions will naturally continue over the future of Alexis Sanchez.

In this tale of two strikers, Olivier Giroud has fallen under the radar to a certain extent and that may be a situation that suits him. However, Arsene Wenger has given some indication as to whether the French forward will be at the Emirates next season.

Keen to stay

arsenal's olivier giroud

Arsene told the press that, despite reported interest from Everton, West Ham and a number of clubs based abroad, Giroud is “very determined to stay”. Those rumours continue but the manager’s words, plus the lack of any real comment from player or agent, suggest that the 30-year-old will be in the Arsenal squad at the start of the 2017/18 campaign.

The obvious question is whether this is the right call. Arsenal are priced at 11/1 for the title with bet365 in their current premier league betting markets and to have any chance of success, there is a need for strength in depth in all areas. Giroud attracts plenty of criticism but as a squad member at the very least, his record remains an impressive one.

In 164 league matches with Arsenal, he has notched 69 goals; that’s close enough to the ratio of one strike in every two games by which forwards are generally judged and even in the difficult 2016/17 campaign, a return of 16 goals in 39 matches across all competitions was a healthy one.

Other areas

Per Mertesacker

The bare stats of last season indicate that Arsenal had few concerns going forward. A total of 77 goals at the end of the campaign was one less than Liverpool in fourth place and comfortably more than Manchester United, who found the net on just 54 occasions.

Defensively, it wasn’t such a positive outcome, with 48 goals conceded and that tally was worse than any other side in the top six. The club could well have addressed that deficiency, temporarily at least, with the news that Per Mertesacker would play for one more season before taking over at the Arsenal academy. It would be wrong to assume that the big German can play week in, week out, but he was immense in the FA Cup Final and his return to full fitness is a real boost.

A combative defensive midfielder is another top target and links to Eintracht Frankfurt’s Aymen Barkok look promising. It would, of course, be wrong to suggest that there are no concerns up front and the big question is whether Lacazette is just a like-for-like replacement for Sanchez.

If that is the case then surely Arsenal will need to go back into the market for another striker, but can Olivier Giroud justify extending his stay at the Emirates when a reported transfer fee of £20m could swell Arsene’s summer funds?

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