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Wenger reveals how he offered Giroud chance to quit Arsenal

Arsenal boss said he 'opened door' for French striker to leave but he wanted to fight for a place in the team

12 August, 2017 — By Richard Osley

Olivier Giroud is off the mark for the season, after scoring against Leicester

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger said one of the “great days of recent weeks” was when striker Olivier Giroud passed up on the chance to leave the club.

He said the 30 year-old, who scored the winner in tonight’s 4-3 win over Leicester, was “at the top of his game” and that he had never wanted to move him on. Giroud had been linked with moves to Marseille, West Ham and Everton over the summer and speculation intensified when striker Alexandre Lacazette arrived at the Emirates with a £52 million price tag, the sort of money which demands game time.

But Wenger said there was now no chance of Giroud leaving before the transfer deadline closes later this month after the player had resolved to fight for his place in the first team at the Emirates Stadium. Both Lacazette and Giroud need strong seasons to make sure they are in the French party travelling to the World Cup in Russia next summer.

“I opened the door for him [Giroud] at some stage as I had many strikers and it’s important for him to play but I don’t want him to go,” said Wenger. “In the end he decided to stay and it was one of the great days of the recent weeks for me. I know how important he is not only as a player – he’s a fantastic player – but also in the group he has a big weight. It was a relief for me he decided to stay. Giroud in his prime is at the top of his game.”

The competition for forward roles in the starting XI is at its hottest for several years. The future of Alexis Sanchez is unclear but Wenger has suggested he is prepared to keep the striker for a season and then let him leave on a free if he will not sign a £300,000-a-week contract. Sanchez has been tracked by a number of clubs and – at 28 – is tiptoeing carefully around where and when he signs on the dotted line. Manchester City are said to be circling, but Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich’s interest appears to have cooled. Even without him, however, Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck are desperate to compete with he French forwards.

Lucas Perez will almost certainly leave the club after just one season due to limited game time, while the injured Joel Campbell has not been listed with a squad number, after several loan adventures. Wenger would not discuss this evening  who may be departing his bloated squad, but said players needed to play and that in some positions he had three or four players fighting for the same spot in the team.

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