Olivier Giroud as Good as Luis Suarez and Robin Van Persie, Says Santi Cazorla

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2014

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla, center right, celebrates his goal with teammate Olivier Giroud, center left, during the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's stadium in Southampton, England, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Arsenal's midfielder Santi Cazorla has spoken of his admiration of Gunners teammate Olivier Giroud, claiming he is as good as any other striker in the Premier League.    

The Spanish international told French media outlet RMC, via Nick Lustig of the Daily Star:

He's playing at a great level and improves year on year. He's at the same level as the other forwards in the league. He's strong and can keep the ball. In the penalty box, he's effective, whether that be with both feet or his head. He's a bit different to what you usually see in England, but he brings us a lot. He's a great striker, and we've seen that since the start of the season. He's also doing great things with the French national team.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Giroud, 27, has had a good season in Arsene Wenger's side. The player has scored 12 goals and seven assists in all competitions this year, per WhoScored.com, and is very much the club's main striker. 

An injury to him would be catastrophic for the North Londoners as they chase domestic and European glory. With Wenger originally considering the purchase of Luis Suarez last summer, there was every chance that Giroud would have been left out in the cold.

But he has established himself as first choice at the club and could go on to have a successful World Cup.

Despite Cazorla's praise and claims that he is in the class of strikers such as Suarez and Robin van Persie, there is room for disagreement. His record stands up in what has been a successful season so far for his club, but he is by no means world-class in terms of ability.

ESPN tweeted about Giroud's own comments when comparing himself to Suarez:

In the summer, Giroud's place in the first team may be at threat. If Wenger can bring in a player of the caliber of Suarez there will be no place in the side for the French international and he will be forced to spend time on the bench.

If he would be happy with this scenario nobody knows, but his performances this year would guarantee that there would be huge interest in his signature.

When Walcott returns, some of the burden of goalscoring will be lifted from Giroud. However, as things stand he will have to find the goals that the team needs to harvest success this year.

With the likes of Mesut Ozil and Cazorla behind him, the supply line should remain healthy for the strikerhis opportunity to prove he is the right man for the job long term begins in earnest now.