May 21 2013 Latest news:
by Paul Chronnell
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Montpellier and France striker Olivier Giroud is close to £11m deal
Arsenal are ready to sign their second striker of the summer, Frenchman Olivier Giroud, but that does not mean Robin van Persie is heading for the Emirates exit.
Montpellier marksman Giroud, top scorer in France for last season’s surprise Ligue 1 champions, is close to agreeing a switch to the Gunners in an £11m deal.
He looks set to join Germany star Lukas Podolski at the Emirates, but the pair are not being looked at as replacements for Gunners captain Van Persie, who has been told by the Emirates board to take his time over deciding his future.
Van Persie will enter the final year of his contract next month, but Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “Robin sat down with us at the end of the season and we had a good discussion.
“What we agreed at that meeting was that we would keep all the discussions we had over the summer to ourselves and make announcements when it is the right time.
“Robin is clearly focused on the Euros at the moment and we wish him well, and at the right time we will make the right announcements.”
Arsene Wenger, who is in Poland and Ukraine working at the European Championship for French television, will now look to offload his unwanted strikers as he makes room in the squad for Giroud.
Among them may be Marouane Chamakh, who could be included as part of the Giroud deal, although the Morocco international would prefer a return to his former club Bordeaux.
And the Gunners will also listen to offers for Korean Ju-Young Park, Nicklas Bendtner, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, and Mexican flop Carlos Vela.
Vela signed for the Gunners in 2007 but has since had loan spells at five different clubs and spent last season with La Liga side Real Sociedad, making it clear he did not want to return to the Emirates again.
One player who has already left Arsenal is 19-year-old Dutch midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup, who has joined leading Turkish club Besiktas in a deal worth £500,000.