Olivier Giroud has today opened up on his surprise transfer deadline day move from Arsenal to London rivals Chelsea.
31-year-old hitman Giroud was heavily linked with a departure from the Emirates last summer, following the big-money arrival of Alexandre Lacazette at the club from Lyon.
The likes of Everton, West Ham United, Marseille and more were known to have expressed an interest in bringing Giroud in, but, in the end, he stayed put in North London, vowing to fight for his place with the club.
Out of favour
The experienced attacker’s plan to battle with French international teammate Lacazette for starting duties did not go exactly according to plan in the months that followed, though, with the former Montpellier man given the nod from the start in just 1 Premier League game to this point in the season.
World Cup hopes
Unsurprisingly, Giroud’s lack of a regular starting place at the Emirates led to inevitable January exit links for the Frenchman, with both the striker and his agent having hinted over recent weeks that a departure from North London would be beneficial, especially with this summer’s World Cup drawing ever closer.
In addition, Arsenal’s long-anticipated (now complete) move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked set to make the pathway to regular minutes for Giroud at Arsenal an even more difficult one.
Giroud’s proven goalscoring pedigree over the last 6 seasons at the Emirates resulted in a number of clubs expressing an interest in his services over the course of the winter transfer window.
However, despite heavy links with the likes of Borussia Dortmund and West Ham, surprisingly, it was Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea who, in the end, coughed up the required fee of around £18 million to coax the Frenchman to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day:
Chelsea Football Club has today completed the signing of Olivier Giroud from Arsenal.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 31, 2018
‘Needed his opinion’
Speaking in an interview earlier today, Giroud was questioned on whether French boss Didier Deschamps had influenced his decision to make the move to Stamford Bridge, with the Grenoble youth product revealing:
‘Deschamps didn’t encourage me to join Chelsea, he encouraged me to change clubs.’
‘Everyone knows my attachment to the France side and every time I wear the shirt it’s with a lot of pride.’
‘So of course I want to play the World Cup in Russia, which will surely be my last, so I need to give myself every chance.’
‘One week before the end of the transfer window, we spoke, yes. I needed to get his opinion, that’s all.’ (Quotes via the Sun)