Arsene Wenger says the fact he felt comfortable bringing on Olivier Giroud in last night’s defeat to Swansea, despite the player being on the cusp of a move to Chelsea, is a tribute to the striker’s commitment to professionalism.
Giroud is expected to move across London in the coming hours as Arsenal make room in their squad for Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Unlike Alexis Sanchez who moved to Manchester United earlier in the transfer window, the boss didn’t mind including his compatriot in his matchday squad one last time.
“It’s a tribute to Olivier, yes [that I could play him],” said Wenger after the 3-1 defeat.
“He is a guy who gave great service to the club, he never let us down on the commitment front and he saved us many times.
“I have absolutely no doubt that when I ask him if he is ready to commit and he says yes, I have no problem with that. That is why I put him on, because it was needed and unfortunately he couldn’t help us.”
While the boss wouldn’t give a definitive answer about whether Giroud’s move was happening, he did admit he’ll be sad to see the attacker leave the Emirates.
“Yes. I have personally, of course, taken him from Montpellier and he became a strong, regular international player for France and we have gone together through good and bad. But always I believe his behaviour has been top, top class and the respect is more linked to that than to all the rest.”
He added: “Olivier is an Arsenal man and after that he needs to play as well. He has not played many games in the Premier League since the start of the season and he is a regular player in the French national team.
“There is a World Cup where France will go, the places are of course very difficult to get and at some stage it was a difficult situation for him. But he always had his heart 100 per cent in the team and he was committed.”
Giroud turned down the chance to move to Everton and West Ham this summer but has since seen his game time mostly come in the Europa League and Carabao Cup. While he was offered a chance to play for Borussia Dortmund as part of the deal to land Aubameyang, he’s decided to keep his family in London.