Arsenal made their second major signing of the summer yesterday when the striker Olivier Giroud officially joined from Montpellier for £13m, although the future of Robin van Persie still remains a doubt despite the prospect receding of him joining Juventus, one of the key clubs interested in him.
It has become increasingly clear over the past seven days that Italian champions Juventus will sign the Napoli striker Edinson Cavani this summer, thus ruling themselves out of the small elite group of clubs who might be able to tempt Van Persie.
It would be Arsène Wenger's preference that if the striker were to leave it would be to a club outside the Premier League. Juventus had registered a serious interest in Van Persie but now that it seems they have opted for Cavani, worth around £25m, they will not be in the running for the Dutch international. The leading club in the market for the striker remain Manchester City, whose wealth gives them one very important advantage, although Arsenal would rather Van Persie ran down his contract than sell yet another player to City.
Given his status, and the reality that this will be the biggest contract he ever signs, Van Persie's options are limited. He has not agreed a new deal with Arsenal yet and Juventus signing Cavani is significant. Chelsea had looked closely at the player, but have decided to focus their efforts on signing either Hulk from Porto or Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid.
Giroud, 25, has had an interesting career, only developing relatively late as a Ligue 1 player. He has played just two seasons of top-flight football with Montpellier and was still on loan with Istres in the third division in the 2007-08 season. He was part of France's Euro 2012 squad, although he did not make his debut for the national team until November last year.
He joined Montpellier two years ago and was top scorer last season when they won the French Championship. In the past two seasons, Wenger has had little success with strikers, signing the ineffective Park Ju-young and before that Marouane Chamakh, both of whom the club would ideally offload if they could. Only Gervinho has been moderately successful.
Giroud said yesterday in an interview with the club's in-house television channel that he believed he could succeed in the Premier League. He said: "I think I have the weapons to do well here. I will need some time to adapt, of course, but I'm not worried about that – I think I will adapt well. I am not worried about integrating and settling down because there are a few French players here."
A former team-mate of Laurent Koscielny from his days at Tours in Ligue 2, he made the bold claim that he believed Arsenal, who announced the signing of Lukas Podolski before Euro 2012, could win a trophy this season. "I am convinced that in the future, hopefully next season, we can win something," Giroud said. "It is difficult in England because there are so many big teams, but that's what gives it its charm. It is the hardest league and it won't be easy to impose myself, but I'm confident."
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