Earlier this week, Olivier Giroud hinted that he is set to sign a new contract with Arsenal.
This comes after speculation recently that he was set to leave prompted his agent to clarify that the Frenchman would be going nowhere. Well, at least not in January.
Out of contract next summer, at the same time as Alexis, Ozil and the Ox to name just three others, Giroud said, “People have been saying I have signed a new contract. It is not true but may be soon.
“It is all about keeping the focus high. Always keep working hard at training,” he added. “I was speaking with the boss, we had a couple of discussions together and he explained to me why I hadn’t played too much until here. But football is an everlasting new beginning, as I used to say, and you always have to keep focused and wait for your time.
“Today I played, I tried to give everything for the team and hopefully things will change for me. But as long as the team is getting better I am happy and I am part of the club since five years and I want to carry on. But we have to see, I need more time of games but we will see in the future. The best thing is to keep within distance of Chelsea.”
Putting all the comments together it would seem like the club and player are in negotiations over a new deal. That could also help explain the speculation that appeared linking him to a number of clubs in Italy – agent games.
So are Arsenal right to offer him a new deal?
Of course they are. Despite his ongoing reputation, Olivier Giroud has proven himself time and time again. He will frustrate, but he will score goals, and coming off the bench he is a red-hot option.
But having seen Alexis played up front on his own this season, Arsenal fans have seen the difference between a ‘good’ player in that position and a ‘great’ one. It will be hard for the manager to return to Giroud dependence without causing significant unrest. At best, his future at Arsenal can only be as a squad member, used from the bench to give another option or played from the start to give others a break.
Is Giroud right to accept it?
That’s up to him, really. There is no doubt that he could get more minutes at other clubs in one of the top European leagues than he will get at Arsenal unless something dramatic happens. He’d have to take a pay cut, most likely. He’d also have to move his young family.
Should he agree to a new deal at Arsenal he will have sought assurances over playing time but Wenger guarantees nothing like that. Come, train, play, prove you deserve to start. Even that doesn’t help when the manager decides you no longer fit the way he wants to play and that, I’m afraid, is where Giroud finds himself at the minute.
Arsenal are so cumbersome in attack when he starts and the difference is stark in movement, pace and energy. But he scores. He offers something different. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t offer enough to be Arsenal’s leading striker any more.
Can his fragile ego live with that? That’s the question he needs to answer.