Giroud opens up on his decision to leave Arsenal

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Olivier Giroud says Arsene Wenger’s decision to recruit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played a fundamental part in his decision to leave Arsenal in January.

The France international says the decision to move to Chelsea and give his career a new direction was logical especially after France coach Didier Deschamps encouraged him to quit the Emirates.

The 31-year-old also revealed that on top of an approach from Borussia Dortmund, his agent was also contacted by Sevilla and Roma.

“A week before the end of the transfer window, I needed to hear his (Deschamps’) opinion,” Giroud told French programme Telefoot.

“He didn’t encourage me to join Chelsea. But he encouraged me to change clubs.

“Dortmund were interested but for a loan deal. There was Seville and my agent also received a phone call from Roma. But my choice was quite clear and obvious when I knew that Antonio Conte wanted to work with me.

“There are two central strikers at Chelsea. There will be good competition between us.”

Giroud turned down the chance to move to Everton and West Ham United in the summer despite Arsene Wenger making clear that Alexandre Lacazette, incoming from Lyon, would be his first choice striker. Despite the sale of Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez, Giroud says that Aubameyang’s arrival was sign enough that he should move on.

“I had wanted to stay at Arsenal to try my luck even when Alex Lacazette arrived. The reality is that the coach (Arsene Wenger) wanted to recruit another central striker (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang).

“When he signed, that made three central strikers and that is why I decided to leave.

“It was logical to give my career a new direction. There was a bit of disappointment even if I spent five magnificent years there.

“I could have stayed but I needed a back-up plan. I wanted to stay in the Premier League and Chelsea was a great opportunity for me.”

While strengthening a rival is hardly ideal, Arsene Wenger said on Friday that his decision to allow Giroud to move across London was in part based on his respect for a player that had given his all for Arsenal since signing in 2012.

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