Backpage roundup: Giroud, Park Chu-Young, Wiltord and Ox

Arsenal Close to Sealing Giroud Deal

French international striker Olivier Giroud is on the verge of completing his £12 million deal from Montpellier to Arsenal. (BBC)

The 25-year-old frontman, who scored 21 goals in Montpellier’s Ligue 1 triumph last season, is being tipped to complete his move to Emirates Stadium in the next few days. He is currently a member of France’s national team that is taking part in the ongoing European Championship in Ukraine and Poland.

 

Park Chu-Young Promises to Do Military Service

Earlier today, Park Chu-Young apologised for his decision to not answer the call for obligatory military service in his native South Korea and promised that he will make amends in future. (AFP)

The Arsenal striker was called for military service last year when he used to play for French club AS Monaco, but he ducked it by obtaining a 10-year visa of the Principality of Monaco.

Chu-Young has been dropped from the South Korean national side due to his controversial decision and a few hours ago, he told the reporters: “I’m sorry for those who have loved me… I will do my sacred military service, for sure.”

He then claimed that he took long-term residency visa in Monaco to advance his footballing career and not to escape military service. While the 26-year-old star failed to do anything significant for Arsenal during his first season in the Barclays Premier League, he is still regarded as a major player for his country.

 

FFF’s Tribute to Retiring Wiltord

Former Arsenal striker Sylvain Wiltord, who decided to end his professional footballing career earlier this week, has been paid a glowing tribute by the French Football Federation.

The 38-year-old Frenchman became a Gunner in 2000 and won the league and FA Cup titles twice each during his four-year stay at Highbury.

After Wiltord’s retirement became official on Monday, the FFF released a statement, which read: “All of our football fans who were following the final of the European Championship on the evening of July 2 in Rotterdam as supporters of France will long remember Sylvain Wiltord’s equalising goal in added time before the French won in extra-time.

“This memory will remain etched in the history of our sport, because he made a big contribution to winning the European title.”

In 2008, Arsenal.com had compiled a list of 50 of the greatest Gunners of all time and Wiltord was ranked at number 33 on it.

 

Oxlade-Chamberlain Not Upset Over Family’s Absence

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has said that he is not saddened by the fact that his family was not present to watch him start in a competitive international fixture for England for the very first time. (F365)

The Arsenal winger’s family did not travel to Ukraine and Poland due to the highly publicized racism issues in the region and had to watch England’s opening Euro 2012 match on TV, but the player says that it doesn’t matter to him.

Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “They are on holiday. They are just on holiday. There was a lot said but I can’t say any of it is true at all. They are just enjoying a nice holiday. For me, it’s enough that they are watching on the TV.

“I spoke to them also. I don’t need them to fly out here to support me. They are always there. I spoke to dad briefly because he was struggling to get a signal on his phone in Portugal. I managed to get a two-minute conversation. He said if you do get on and play, all the best. That was it.”