Giroud ‘happy’ he stayed at Ar­se­nal de­spite los­ing place

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Jeremy Wil­son

Olivier Giroud is adamant that he has no re­grets about stay­ing with Ar­se­nal de­spite los­ing his place as Arsene Wenger’s main striker to £52.7 mil­lion record sign­ing Alexan­dre La­cazette.

The sit­u­a­tion is re­v­ersed at in­ter­na­tional level for France, with Giroud again scor­ing on Fri­day against Wales – mak­ing 15 in his last 22 in­ter­na­tion­als – to up­hold Di­dier Deschamps’s faith in him. Giroud, 31, could have joined Ever­ton, West Ham United or Mar­seille last sum­mer but de­cided to stay at Ar­se­nal and, with reg­u­lar foot­ball in the Europa League and League Cup, does not in­tend to re­con­sider his sit­u­a­tion in Jan­uary.

Alexis Sanchez’s likely de­par­ture next year should in­di­rectly pro­vide fur­ther first-team op­por­tu­ni­ties and Wenger very much wants Giroud to stay, de­spite his gen­eral pref­er­ence in the Pre­mier League for La­cazette.

“I am not ques­tion­ing my­self about my fu­ture,” said Giroud. “I am happy at Ar­se­nal and I am fine with the de­ci­sion to stay be­cause I want to. We will see what hap­pens, but I’m happy.”

Giroud is sure Wenger watched the match in Paris, es­pe­cially given Aaron Ram­sey’s in­volve­ment for Wales. “Arsene’s al­ways sup­port­ing me and there is a lot of trust in each other,” said Giroud. “He trusts in me and I try to give it back on the pitch when I can.”

Giroud’s goal in the 2-0 win over Wales brought him to within one of Jean-Pierre Papin in fifth place on France’s all-time list with 29. Only Zine­dine Zi­dane, David Trezeguet, Michel Pla­tini and Thierry Henry are ahead of Giroud.

“Papin was one of my favourite play­ers,” added Giroud. “I’m very grate­ful. I’m very proud and I al­ways try to bring some­thing to the na­tional team.

‘‘My best sea­son was in 2015-2016 when I scored 34 goals for Ar­se­nal and France, in­clud­ing the Eu­ros. Usu­ally I play a bit less with Ar­se­nal but I al­ways try to keep my ef­fi­ciency high. That’s most im­por­tant for me.’’

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