Arsene Wenger will be sad to see Olivier Giroud leave as his move to Chelsea nears completion.
All eyes were on Giroud as he came on for what should be his final game as an Arsenal player on Tuesday night.
The 31-year-old is on the verge of joining Chelsea, in a deal that will free up Michy Batshuayi to join Borussia Dortmund and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to join Arsenal.
Following the 3-1 defeat to Swansea, Wenger refused to confirm if the move was going ahead, but nonetheless paid tribute to his striker.
“That will all be decided tomorrow, you know. As usual, [things happen on the] final day and we will know more about that tomorrow,” Wenger said, as reported by Arsenal.com.
“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.
“Yes [on if he’d be sad]. 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.
“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.”
L’Equipe followed up this morning with a round-up of the move.
In their report, they say that Arsenal and Chelsea restarted negotiations on Tuesday morning and eventually settled on a fee of £17.5m, including bonuses.
Arsenal were keen to get the deal done, so that Aubameyang could be signed.
Interestingly, they report that Tottenham tried to intervene by offering Chelsea Fernando Llorente in exchange for Batshuayi.
Fortunately, Chelsea decided not to accept the deal.
Giroud will sign a two-and-a-half year contract with them.
He’ll be competing with Alvaro Morata for first team minutes with an eye on this summer’s World Cup.
It’s going to be bizarre seeing him in a Chelsea shirt, but the move was necessary.