Olivier Giroud Passed Up Opportunity to Leave Arsenal, Arsene Wenger Says

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium on August 11, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed Olivier Giroud turned down the chance to leave the club during the summer transfer window.

The tactician made the revelation after the France international scored the winner against Leicester City in the Premier League opener on Friday. The Gunners won 4-3, and afterward, Wenger was full of praise when speaking to Sky Sports (via ESPN FC):

"I love the man and the player. He's a fantastic guy and he's committed. He doesn't want to leave and I'm happy he wants to stay.

"At one stage I opened the door for him as I knew I had many strikers, and in the end he decided to stay."

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Giroud also spoke to reporters, saying he's hoping for a bigger role in the future after coming on as a substitute on Friday: "That's a nice start, but obviously I prefer to be on the pitch. Tonight we needed this win and everyone knows the first game is important for the confidence."

The 30-year-old was linked with several clubs during the summer, with Ligue 1 side Marseille mentioned the most, per L'Equipe (h/t Stuart Ballard of the Daily Star). Marseille manager Rudi Garcia recently told reporters Giroud likely wasn't interested in his club, but until then, the move was seen as plausible.

The former Montpellier man has been Arsenal's main striker for years, but the fans have clamored for an elite option to lead the line for almost as long. Alexandre Lacazette moved to the Emirates Stadium this summer and scored less than two minutes into his Premier League debut.

Giroud maintains plenty of value as a depth option or a super-sub, and he'll undoubtedly push his compatriot for the starting spot when both are healthy. For all of his flaws, he has consistently delivered in situations like Friday's, and that will buy him plenty of credit.