He’d been linked to Bayern Munich, the Champions League Finalists twice over the last three years, over the last few months. Instead he’s found himself at the Emirates. Last season’s Ligue 1 top goal scorer, with a Ligue 1 championship medal around his neck, Oliver Giroud has left the sunny city of Montpellier for the windy chill of North London. The striker, who was part of the French squad during the European Championship, is now part of the ever-growing French contingent at Arsenal for the tune of £13 million pounds. This is the second signing during the off-season by Arsene Wenger following the arrival of German Lukas Podolski (for £10,900,000) and yet there is a different feeling in regards to these signings.
While Giroud and Podolski are not star names, they are in fact big names. Podolski has been Germany’s Golden Boy for years now, with many waiting for his potential to be fully realized. A star on the international stage, he has struggled at club level, yet everyone knows of Podolski. Giroud, while not a massive name, has enjoyed a quick rise over the last two years. So much so, he’s found himself playing for the national team in a disappointing French team.
After the disastrous transfer window last year, Wenger seems to have learnt his lesson. He’s brought on two strikers of great talent, which can really bring something different to Arsenal. Podolski can play on the left or down the central, while Giroud provides Wenger with that target man that he’s been searching over the years (Chamakh and Bendtner being utter failures). More so, these arrivals are a sign of preparation in regards to the Robin van Persie saga.
The Dutchman has yet to sign a contract with the Gunners. The latest news report is that he won’t be leaving for the any of the Spanish giants, yet Manchester City might still be an option. If van Persie leaves, Wenger has found enough cover to replace him, even though another signing would benefit the Gunners. If van Persie stays, that would be make Arsenal a dangerous prospect. Wenger now has more options upfront, able to play van Persie in the ‘hole’ or even throw him out to the left, with Giroud playing the lone hit man. These arrivals obviously lessen the burden on van Persie’s goal scoring burden.
Wenger has finally flexed his spending muscles. So far, he’s spent £23 million on only two signings. The imminent departures of Manuel Alumnia, Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Sébastien Squillaci and Korean striker Chu-Young Park, possibly all for a decent value, means Wenger will have more room for his squad and even a larger transfer chest.
He shouldn’t stop his lavish spending though. Wenger has brought in some fantastic players and should continue to do so, in order to make Arsenal the title challenging force that it once was. The squad list already holds some valuable players, yet more arrivals are bound to add depth, when the stars go out injury or suspension. The interest in Rennes defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila should be pursued. The Frenchman would add grunt to the side, clearly lacking when Wilshere was missing. Plus he can cover defensive for Song, who over the previous season has joined the attack.
There is also increased interest in Blackburn winger Junior Hoilett. While Arsenal have an abundance of wingers, with Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho and now Podolski in the frame, Hoilett can arrive on a free transfer and more so, has the potential to grow into a better player, plus add depth when required. Giroud’s teammate and captain of Montepellier, Mapou Yanga Mbiwa has also been linked and he would be an exceptional deal, if he was brought through. Another centre-half would help, considering the Gunners’ lack of quality defenders. Mbiwa might cost Wenger another £13million but considering the vast of transfer money that could be coming in, it would worth while spending.
The problems of last year seem to have a profound affect on Wenger. He’s moved fast in the transfer window, spending money he hasn’t spent before. He shouldn’t zip up his wallet, but continue to burn the cash. After years of cheap signings and free transfers, Wenger has brought in players of a quality calibre. Upon his arrival, Giroud stated his intentions with Arsenal.
“I think there is a good spirit here and that is another reason why I chose this club. I am confident in the potential of the group and I am convinced that in the future, hopefully next season, we can win something.” If Wenger keeps buying, they might finally do it.