(Originally posted June 16th 2012)
Arsenal are set to sign 25 year old striker Oliver Giroud from French side Montpellier for £12 million but is he the man that can finally make the London side a title contender again?
If Giroud is going to be a central figure in the Premier League he will have to force his way into a side that also have the attacking options of German international Lukas Podolski and Captain fantastic Robin Van Persie. This will be difficult but Arsenal have a history of making relatively unknown French players stars at the club. Most notable being Robert Pires, Patrick Viera and of course Thierry Henry.
Oliver Giroud was the joint top scorer in Ligue 1 last season with 21 goals firing Montpellier to a shock title win in France. He also has 1 goal in 7 international caps for Le Blues, this was scored against the Germans for the opening goal in a 2-1 French win. Giroud has made it into Lauren Blanc’s Euro 2012 squad but has only played 15 minutes in the opening two group games, coming on for Benzema against Ukraine.
The striker has only had one spell where he wasn’t very prolific in his career. From 2005-2008 he scored 2 goals in 23 for his first club Grenoble. In the 2007-2008 season though he had a loan spell at then French 3rd division side Istres and scored 14 goals in 33 games at just 20 years of age. In 2008 Giroud moved up to Ligue 2 and joined Tours. In his two years there he scored 24 goals in 44 games. Montpellier signed Giroud in 2010 for 2 million Euros (£1.6 million) but promised Tours that he could spend another year there on loan. The man from Chambery continued to impress for them scoring a further 6 goals in 17 games. Giroud made a good start to his Montpellier career scoring on his debut, and then going on to get a further 32 in 70 to further enhance his reputation.
Despite his consistent good form in France he does have the tendency to suffer through minor goal droughts. During his loan spell at Istres he failed to score a goal in the months of November and December, key months in a league season and very busy in England. Can he cope with the pressure? His first spell at Tours didn’t get off to a flying start, not scoring his first goal for the club until October and during the same season he missed 3 games due to injury, played the following two games from the bench before re-aggravating the injury in training which forced him out for a further month. When his transfer to Montpellier was agreed later on in the season he failed to score for another three weeks. After this though he did manage to score in three consecutive games before suffering yet another barren spell, this time lasting 7 games.
So, what can Arsenal fans expect from Oliver Giroud? A good goal scorer who is likely to have a slow start at the club. However he has the potential to be the next French wonder at the Emirates. Will Giroud be a success at Arsenal? I think so, in time.