Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Giroud to sign! Well done agent Lolo -RVP next? -Walcott fitness boost

Morning Gooners.

I'll start with the big talker of the moment - the signing of Olivier Giroud from Montpellier. After a season where we shipped 49 league goals, where is the first place Arsene Wenger makes signings? In attack!

Wenger has got our man Dick Law to thrash out the deal with the French club and the striker's representatives while he is away at the Euros and Ivan Gazidis is on holiday. He's managed to get a bit of a bargain by the sounds of it.

Signing a French international for £12.8million from a club which has just qualified for the Champions League and is notoriously bad to deal with appears to be on paper a fantastic deal. When you look into the detail of Giroud's career, you'll see he has scored 54 goals in 111 league games since 2009/10 (nearly one in every two games).

One thing which Robin van Persie wasn't pleased about last season was that the burden to score goals when the going got tough was always on his shoulders. So what has Arsene Wenger gone and done. Buy strikers who can actually put the ball in the back of the net.

For title winning Montpellier, Giroud was joint top scorer in Ligue 1 with PSG's NenĂȘ. While Podolski netted 18 goals out of Cologne's total of 39 in a Bundesliga season where they were relegated.

Proven goalscorers and certainly an improvement on the goal shy Marouane Chamakh and the invisible Ju Young Park.

Reports suggest Arsenal will pay Giroud £45,000 a week and in exchange the 25-year-old will sign a four year contract.

There is no news on the future of Marouane Chamakh. Montpellier wanted him on loan as part of the Giroud deal but Arsenal don't appear to be too keen to include the Moroccan as part of the deal probably because the French club will expect us to subsidies some, if not all, of his wages.

If Chamakh does leave Arsenal for the French champions, it will be a separate deal entirely.

If you want to know more about Giroud, the excellent David Wall of Opta - who watches the French league extensively - gives his views on the Frenchman over on Arse2Mouse.

Of course it remains to be seen whether Robin van Persie is next up to put pen to paper. I do hope he will and if it's all about football you have to think he'll stay at Arsenal. However if his main priority is to line his pockets with cash he'll be off to Manchester City.

The way I'm currently viewing the situation with our captain is that I think he'll be leaving Arsenal this summer. So far he''s not signed the deal we've offered him and his agent has met twice with Ivan Gazidis without them reaching a successful agreement which would see Robin re-sign.

It's very much a 50/50 situation. But I'm coming down on the side where he leaves rather than stays.

If Robin is an Arsenal player on September 1, I'll be ecstatic. He's our best player and we should do everything to keep him. But after what happened with Cesc Fabregas last summer I can't have my heart broken again.

Elsewhere, the BBC are reporting that Theo Walcott is fit following a scare about his hamstring and could now start tonight's game against Ukraine.

You have to think that in a game where England have to be positive and go out to win the match, Walcott would start rather than James Milner who has frankly offered very little to the team.

And frankly I find it ridiculous that Uefa have fined Nicklas Bendtner £80,000 for showing off some Paddy Power branded pants when they fine Football Associations across Europe far less if their fans are involved in racist chanting.

It's good to see that Michel Platini has got his priorities right.

Finally the fixture list for the forthcoming season was announced yesterday. It's fair to say we've been given a tricky start. But that might be why Arsene Wenger has been more proactive in the transfer market.

We can't afford not to be ready for the coming season. We got ourselves in third place so we go straight into the Champions League group stage, thus avoiding a qualifier. But we have to make sure we're fully prepared for the league season which starts with matches against Sunderland, Stoke and Liverpool.

That's it  for today. More tomorrow.

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