Giroud. Who?

Olivier Giroud (Wikipedia)

With the signing of Olivier Giroud, Arsenal can now claim to have three of the top international strikers in Europe on their books. Of course, that’s simply ‘for now,’ as rumours continue to swirl around the long-term future of Robin van Persie.

But just who is Olivier Giroud?

Giroud is an experienced striker, in spite of being just 25 years old. The top scorer in the French top tier with title winners Montpellier, he has just returned home from Ukraine after an unsuccessful trip to Euro 2012 with the French national side that saw him in limited action.

Born in Chambéry, France on September 30, 1986, Giroud’s start in professional football with Grenoble was far from illustrious, scoring only twice in 23 appearances after making his debut at the age of 19. However, a loan spell at Istres proved a little more fruitful, with 14 tallies in 33 games. The average improved to better than a goal every two games when he moved to Tours in 2008, and his goalscoring prowess continued when he moved on to Montpellier in 2010. And now, with a Ligue 1 title, and now nine international appearances under his belt, he will be pitting his wits against some of the best defenders in the world in the Premier League.

Giroud made his international debut as a substitute in a friendly against the US, and got off the mark with a goal against Germany, again in a friendly.

Giroud is likely not a ready-made replacement for van Persie as, like recent signing Lukas Podolski, he is primarily left footed, however, unlike the German international, he can score with both feet, and his head. He is pacy, acrobatic, athletic, fast and has excellent instinct. He can cut in from either wing, and provide excellent crosses, and create havoc running from deep or poaching in the six-yard box.

There are a few good videos of Giroud’s scoring prowess out there.

This is one of the better ones and some of the overhead goals and fast finishes should have the Arsenal faithful salivating at the prospect of seeing him in a red and white shirt next season, regardless of who is up front with him.

To see all Giroud’s goals in France last season, watch this.

While the defending at times is absent, and he won’t be given quite so much space in the English top flight, there’s little doubt he’s going to get opportunities in the Arsenal side. And the imbalance the side suffered in the 2011/12 season, with van Persie scoring most of the goals, looks set to change, with several game-winning players in the side.

With Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott, midfielders of the calibre of Arteta, Rosicky, Song and Wilshere, and the three above-mentioned strikers, there are likely to be a few managers worrying about how to stop the attack. And, if as is rumoured, some midfield steel is being sought, the only thing missing is perhaps some defensive depth, given the injury woes of the past season, and a look at whether the goalkeeping situation is settled.

Award-winning writer, editor and photographer from England currently living in Canada. Several published books do date, and thousands of articles/photos have appeared in major publications around the world on a range of subjects from science to sport, music to news. Involved with football as a club board member and league president, referee and referee assessor and course instructor.