Arsene Wenger Says Olivier Giroud Has Arsenal Future, Promises More Game Time

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2017

Arsenal's French striker Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring the team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Arsene Wenger has vowed to hand Olivier Giroud more starts after he grabbed a late equaliser in Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Southampton on Sunday.

The France international has not begun a single Premier League match this season having lost his place to compatriot Alexandre Lacazette, but he has nevertheless scored four goals in the 252 minutes he has played across 13 cameo appearances as a substitute.

According to Sky Sports, the Gunners manager played down speculation over Giroud's future and promised more starts for the former Montpellier man:

"He is important—why should we lose an important player? It is up to us [and not Giroud].

"He will start more games. I believe as well it's always the same when you have many good players, some of them cannot play.

"The question you get is always why does the guy who is good not play? Because if you take him on you have another guy who is good who will not play, it is as simple as that."

Despite Wenger's suggestion that the player is not for sale, Giroud has said he could consider his future in January.

Per L'Equipe (h/t Goal's Chris Burton), the forward said: "It wouldn't have been good to leave for leaving's sake, but it's certain that eventually, even in January, I'm going to have to ask myself the question again.

"It won't be easy to find the right solution and take the right decision, but we'll look at the opportunities."

As OptaJoe demonstrated, Giroud specialises in scoring after coming off the bench:

Football writer Tom McDermott believes the striker's talents are underrated:

The 31-year-old perhaps does not always get the credit he deserves. While he may not be among the elite goalscorers in the world, 105 goals and 41 assists is an excellent return for a £12 million signing.

Giroud has also played every minute of Arsenal's UEFA Europa League campaign and has struck three times in the six matches, but he's featured far less this season than he normally would.

According to France assistant coach Guy Stephan on Telefoot (h/t Adam Jones of the Liverpool Echo), manager Didier Deschamps has spoken to Giroud about his lack of game time this season and the importance of rectifying the situation ahead of the World Cup.

Giroud will be 36 when the 2022 tournament comes around, so this will realistically be his final opportunity to take part.

Wenger's comments will be an encouraging sign for the player and his national team, though, so if the manager follows through on his promise, Giroud may not have to consider his future at the club.  

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