|GIROUD POISED TO ENHANCE ARSENAL'S ATTACKING OPTIONS
Betfair: 15 June 2012
Reproduced with permission from betting.betfair.com. (c) The Sporting Exchange Limited.
Arsenal are rumoured to be close to signing Olivier Giroud for £12 million. Michael Lintorn considers the implications...
After the shambolic scramble they were forced to carry out on transfer deadline day last August to belatedly replace Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Arsenal are looking a picture of preparation as they conduct this summer's modifications.
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Lukas Podolski was confirmed to be off to the Emirates for around £11 million before he had even concluded Koln's failed fight against relegation from the Bundesliga, and it now looks as though Olivier Giroud will also head to north London after Euro 2012.
The Montpellier striker was one of the stars of the 2011/12 season, emerging as the hero of his side's improbable Ligue 1 title triumph at the expense of loaded Paris St-Germain and finishing as the division's joint-top scorer.
That success has not only prompted much sudden interest in the 25-year-old, who boasts just two years of top-flight experience, but international recognition as France's second-choice forward, with many calling for him to start alongside Karim Benzema.
Bringing him to the Premier League, and doing so before he gets a chance to further increase his value at Euro 2012, therefore appears fine business by Arsenal, who are expected to complete a £12 million move for him this week.
Montpellier coach Rene Girard also confirmed the likelihood of a deal by stating: "Arsenal are very interested and Giroud wants to play in England, if Arsene Wenger agrees (terms) with the president, he will sign for them."
The obvious question is: will he be arriving as a team-mate or replacement for PFA player of the year Robin van Persie? Whereas it was simple to paint Podolski as an addition due to his deployment out wide for Germany, Giroud's rise has come as the focal point of an attack.
According to reports, Giroud's signing is supposed to show van Persie their ambition and lessen his load rather than ease his exit, however £12 million is a lot to spend on an understudy, especially for a club as cautious in the market as Arsenal.
The Dutch striker is currently odds-on to stay on Betfair though, while the Gunners - who have also been linked with France midfielder Yann M'Vila - are 13.0 to top the Premier League next season.
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