Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have once again demonstrated their unrivaled class by allowing Olivier Giroud to sign for Chelsea – at least that’s what most fans think anyway.
Although Arsenal fans were pretty miffed – to put it mildly – that their club had sold another striker to a rival team in the space of a week, most didn’t harbour any bitterness towards Giroud for his move to Chelsea.
We were just a little bit sad.
It was always suspected that the 31-year-old wanted to stay in London and, on Friday morning, Wenger confirmed as much.
“Olivier wanted more playing time – and wants as well to go to the World Cup,” Wenger said, reports the Independent.
“That is why I opened the door. But he was massively popular here.”
He added, “Ideally, you don’t want him to go to a rival.
“But it was very difficult on the family side to leave London.
“We owe him a lot for his exceptional dedication and commitment to the club.”
As the boss says, Giroud was really popular among the Arsenal fans. Not only was he a super-sub and the Gunners’ fifth highest goalscorer of all time, he just got on with his job. He didn’t complain and, in the summer when Everton came a-knocking, he turned them down because something in his “soul and heart” told him to stay at Arsenal.
I usually don’t believe footballers when they go on about their love for their club because football is such a fickle, PR-driven sport now. But I believed Giroud when he said that.
Therefore, I’m not in the least bit surprised that Arsenal and Wenger granted the big guy the move he wanted. The move the France international didn’t just think would be good for him but would be best for his growing family.
It seems Arsenal fans agree with me.
Here’s what Twitter’s been saying:
"He’s just had a third baby it was a bit difficult for his family to leave London. We owe Giroud a lot, it was difficult to turn it down because it was a rival club."#Humanity #Class #Respect
— Positively Arsenal (Blackburn George) (@arseblagger) February 2, 2018
Nothing but respect for a man who puts his family first.
And don’t @ me about his past dalliance, for which he manned up to – publicly.
— Arsene In (@dariendude2) February 2, 2018
Actions of a man of integrity.
— Peter N (@gooner1947) February 2, 2018
There's no doubt that Wenger isn't a ruthless winner like Fergie or the evil Mourinho and we have to admit that has been detrimental to Arsenal….However, as a man with class and deceny…he's bucket loads ahead of most.. https://t.co/XGp3CAVX46
— Winners 2014/2015/17 (@Pez78) February 2, 2018
I’m glad Giroud get to stay at London.. I don’t want him to feel like Arsenal betrayed him.
— Jarvis (@jarvisofficial1) February 2, 2018
— Truth_Afc (@truthhurtz449) February 2, 2018
Classy from Wenger. https://t.co/P4RX0f4HDR
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) February 2, 2018
— Nameless (@JoeDirrtt) February 2, 2018
Occasionally Wenger decides he’s gonna play the Mourinho game and have a strategic moan, and he might’ve sent the odd bottle of Gatorade flying down the touchline (hey, it’s a passionate game) but mostly Wenger is one of the most dignified and classy people in football, overall.
— Richard Mills (@Millsy2010) February 2, 2018
As Reddit user Xez90 puts perfectly: “This was a class act by the club and I definitely don’t have any bad blood towards this man, he loves us as much as we love him.”