A report in Italy is claiming that Olivier Giroud was close to leaving Arsenal in the summer and that Napoli still regret not being able to close the deal.

Coming in the wake of the two-touch-two-goal feat he pulled off at Sunderland, Calciomercato are running a report that claims a number of things:

  • Arsenal offered Giroud to Inter Milan as they tried to sign Mauro Icardi
  • Napoli made ‘concrete’ attempts to sign him and hoped to use Arsenal’s interest in Gonzalo Higuain.

In regards to the Napoli deal, Calciomercato also claim that Arsenal proposed €50m and Olivier Giroud for Higuain but Napoli wanted a minimum of €60m. The Argentine eventually moved to Juventus for £76.5m and has eight goals and one assist in 14 appearances this season, averaging a goal every 98 minutes in Serie A.

The Italian site said there was also another problem between Arsenal and Napoli – Higuain had already promised to go to Juve.

They also hold out hope of Napoli being able to tempt Giroud to Italy in January but that would seem unlikely. Arsenal are not going to let him go mid-season unless they have a replacement lined up, and as it would seem a bit of a risk to expect a new man to come in and outperform Giroud immediately.

If this story is true, it makes me wonder even more if Giroud really did have fitness problems at the start of the season and then a toe injury. Was his head turned? Was he struggling mentally?

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time and would seem to fit a lot better with what has happened since the start of the season than the ‘injury’ line peddled by the club.