Arsenal Transfer Update: Negotiations for Olivier Giroud Will Soon Be Underway
Speaking to French radio station RMC on Monday, Montpellier manager Rene Girard revealed that if Arsenal pay striker Olivier Giroud's £9.6 million release clause, Giroud will "definitely" become a Gunner next season.
Mohamed Bouhafsi first reported the news on Twitter, which was subsequently confirmed and relayed by noted French journalist Philippe Auclair.
RMC had already reported earlier on Monday that according to an Arsenal source, the north London club was expected to enter into negotiations for Giroud in the "coming hours." The source confirmed that an offer was then expected to be sent to Giroud, who is currently with the French national team at the European Championships in Poland/Ukraine.
Giroud, who led Ligue 1 with 21 goals last season (along with nine assists) had been coy about his future in recent weeks, telling journalists that he "wasn't sure" where he would play next season, referring to his contract with Montpellier, which runs until 2014.
(Giroud joined Montpellier from Tours in summer 2010, and signed an extension following the 2010-11 season that runs until 2014.)
According to the same RMC article, Arsenal are the fourth club to express concrete interest in Giroud.
Queens Park Rangers, Atletico Madrid and Malaga had all signaled their intent to sign the striker, but Montpellier are believed to favor Arsenal, with the hope that they might capture Marouane Chamakh as part of a potential deal.
Arsene Wenger has made Giroud his top priority in the transfer department, and sent top scout Gilles Grimandi to compile a dossier on the forward back in April.
It is believed that Wenger wants to sign Giroud regardless of whether captain Robin van Persie (whose contract expires in 2013) stays with the club next season.
As for Giroud, he is focused solely upon the European Championships, and has instructed his entourage to deal with the logistics of a potential move.
"I know clubs are interested in me, but that doesn't bother me at all," Giroud said ahead of France's match against England on Monday, in which he was an unused substitute. "I'm concentrated solely on the French national team right now."
With the way things are looking, Giroud may be taking a flight to London following these European Championships as opposed to one headed for the south of France, where Montpellier reside.
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