As the list of world-class strikers linked with Arsenal grows, many would believe that Olivier Giroud's days as an Emirates regular are now numbered.
Yesterday in Indonesia, however, the powerful Frenchman instead cut a figure of confidence and assurance; a man not fearing the inevitable competition, but relishing it.
Giroud bagged a brace as Arsenal took apart a hapless Indonesian All-Star defence in the opening game of the club’s tour of Asia on Sunday; the first of which coming just moments after replacing Chuba Akpom on 70 minutes, with his second following just three minutes later.
Both finishes showed touch and finesse - two qualities perhaps not readily attributed to Giroud, who wins most of his plaudits through both aerial and physical prowess.
The Frenchman met Bacary Sagna's cross with a delicious little touch, lifting the ball over an onrushing goalkeeper and safely into the back of the net.
Giroud then completed his brace by expertly controlling yet another Sagna cross, spinning his marker with pace, before slamming a left-footed drive into the top corner of the Indonesian All Star's net.
Although Arsenal were clearly a class above their opponents, Giroud's explosive display certainly caused Arsene Wenger to sit up and take notice.
After his two goals he went on to round a fine performance off with an an assist - a fine cushioned header into the path of Thomas Eisfeld just four minutes before time.
Sunday's performance perhaps encapsulated the Olivier Giroud that terrorised Ligue 1 in 2011/2012; a campaign that saw the Frenchman net 21 goals in 36 appearances for Montpellier.
A substantial aerial threat combined with good feet and pace for his size provided Wenger with reason enough to move for Giroud's signature; but many believe the forward has struggled in his debut season for the Gunners.
Despite such claims, Giroud managed 17 goals in all competitions for Arsenal last season, with 11 of those coming in the Premier League. Such a total is not awe-inspiring when compared to the league's best, Robin van Persie (26), but it is easily forgotten that the Frenchman was a league debutant and under extreme pressure to fill the aforementioned man's boots.
To view Giroud's contribution in a positive light, 17 goals is a solid foundation on which to build his Arsenal career. Experience is now on his side and Arsenal have begun to look like more of a force as a whole. Furthermore, the striker contributed 10 assists in all competitions, reflecting his ability to both hold up play and make space for others; such qualities are vital in bringing Arsenal's talented midfield into play.
Although the speculation surrounding Wenger's pursuit of strikers such as Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain appears ominous for Giroud, it is perhaps worth taking time to evaluate how others could play alongside a large, mobile target-man such as Giroud.
The system of playing two strikers is currently out of favour, with sides such as Bayern Munich and Barcelona opting for just the one in most cases. However, it is not unfeasible to imagine the cunning play of Suarez successfully interlinking with the physicality of Giroud; such a method of play also then enables Arsene Wenger to utilise the Frenchman's aerial presence as an obvious 'Plan-B' when the Gunner's flowing, passing game isn't on song.
Regular or not, Olivier Giroud should not disappear from the mind of Arsene Wenger or Arsenal supporters, some of whom have been hasty in their criticism for the ex-Montpellier man throughout last term.
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