Montpellier manager Rene Girard has confirmed Arsenal are leading the race to sign Olivier Giroud this summer.

The Gunners have long been linked with making a move for Ligue 1’s joint top scorer this summer. The 25-year-old found the back of the net 25 times in all competitions and earned a place in Laurent Blanc’s France squad for Euro 2012, although he was an unused substitute against England on Monday.

Arsene Wenger is believed to be a fan of Giroud’s ability and could make a move this summer, with the reported £12.8 million release-clause in his contract – some way short of the €60 million Montpellier president Louis Nicollin believes he is worth - not expected to be an issue.

While the Ligue 1 champions are reluctant to lose their leading striker, Girard admits that he could be heading towards the Emirates stadium this summer.

"Arsenal are very interested and Giroud wants to play in England, if Arsene [Wenger] agrees with the president [Louis Nicollin], he will sign for them", Girard told French radio station RMC.

Giroud is expected to make a decision over his future once Euro 2012 is over, with reports yesterday suggesting Marouane Chamakh could be used as part of the deal for the frontman.

Marouane Chamakh
Premier League