Al Jazeera have reported that Arsenal have agreed upon a fee with Ligue 1 club Montpellier that would bring Olivier Giroud to the Emirates next season. The Arab news giants' report has been picked up by two different sites as of 1 p.m. PT on Sunday.
Giroud, who led Ligue 1 in scoring with 21 goals in 2011-12, is currently at the European Championships in Poland/Ukraine, where he is expected to play a key role for France. He has one goal and three assists in his last four appearances for Les Bleus.
The 25-year-old's name has been linked strongly to Arsenal for most of 2012, with speculation rife in recent weeks that Arsene Wenger was readying a move for him. Top Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi had been deployed to track the striker's development and create a dossier on him.
A transfer fee plus the inclusion of out-of-form striker Marouane Chamakh had been bandied about with the idea of sweetening a potential deal for Montpellier president Louis Nicollin, with the Moroccan perhaps helping chip into Giroud's reported £12.8 million released clause.
If the news reports turn out to be true, it will only increase speculation that Arsenal captain Robin van Persie may be leaving the squad this summer.
Van Persie's contract does not expire until 2013, but attempts to reach an extension on his current deal fell through in May.
It's believed that Van Persie will revisit the negotiating table following the completion of the European Championships, where the 28-year-old is currently on duty with the Netherlands.
Giroud's arrival would make him the second Wenger recruit for next season, after German forward Lukas Podolski signed on the last day of April. Both are international-level players, however, whose arrival could convince Van Persie of Arsenal's title ambitions and entice the captain to stay on past next season.
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