Giroud wants to write new chap­ter

Evening Times - - SPORT -

OLIVIER GIROUD in­sists his “story is not over” at Ar­se­nal but re­vealed he came close to leav­ing the club dur­ing the sum­mer.

The France in­ter­na­tional has come off the bench in all the Gun­ners’ games this sea­son hav­ing fallen be­hind club-record sign­ing Alexan­dre La­cazette in the peck­ing or­der.

Danny Wel­beck also seems to have over­taken Giroud in man­ager Arsene Wenger’s think­ing but the 30-year-old striker is likely to get a rare chance to im­press from the start in tonight’s Europa League clash with Cologne.

Wenger will make a raft of changes as Ar­se­nal play in the com­pe­ti­tion for the first time in 17 years, with Giroud ex­pected to be one of sev­eral al­ter­ations.

Giroud – who scored a late win­ner on the open­ing day Premier League win against Le­ices­ter – has strug­gled to hold down a reg­u­lar first-team place at the Emi­rates Sta­dium and ad­mits he nearly quit over the sum­mer hav­ing been linked with the likes of Ever­ton and West Ham.

Asked how close he came to leav­ing Ar­se­nal, Giroud said: “Ac­tu­ally that’s a very pri­vate de­ci­sion be­cause it’s true that I was close to leav­ing the club be­cause I said that I wanted to play.

“But af­ter a big re­flec­tion with ev­ery­body around me, like my fam­ily and my close friends, I [de­cided I] wanted to stay at Ar­se­nal and I thought the story was not over, [not] fin­ished at Ar­se­nal.

“The club has brought me a lot and I think I give it back. I still want to im­prove and win some more tro­phies for the club, so I said to the boss our story is not fin­ished, so ev­ery­body was pleased with that.”

Wenger has al­ways main­tained his de­sire to keep Giroud – who has 99 goals for the club – and was full of praise for the striker on the eve of the Cologne clash.

“I have said many times that his con­tri­bu­tion has been huge,” he said. “He has had a great evo­lu­tion here and over­all [his] con­tri­bu­tion has been tremen­dous.

“I think he has shown a very loyal spirit and has a high re­spect from ev­ery­body in­side the club, as well as [from] our fans.”

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