Football

Arsenal: Is Olivier Giroud the answer?

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Giroud has scored four goals already this season  (©GettyImages)
Giroud has scored four goals already this season (©GettyImages).

It's certainly accurate to say that the opening weeks of the 2013/14 season have been characteristically eventful for Arsenal. An opening day debacle at home to Aston Villa prompted a number of fans to voice their considerable discontent at the lack of transfer activity that occurred at the Emirates Stadium during the summer.

Following that humiliating defeat, Arsenal's form has undeniably improved. A comfortable 5-0 aggregate triumph over Turkish outfit Fenerbahce ensured their progression to the group stages of this season's Champions League while victories over London rivals Fulham and Tottenham markedly improved their domestic standing. 

Yet, despite this obvious upturn in fortunes, long-serving manager Arsene Wenger has still found himself under considerable pressure from fans and pundits alike to significantly boost his squad, with French U21 international Yaya Sanogo their only confirmed signing of the current transfer window. Such pressure would appear to have finally heeded a real result, with German playmaker Mesut Ozil set to complete a move to the Emirates later today. 

One other area of Arsenal's squad that is rumoured to be particularly in need of strengthening is up front. Wenger's desire to draft in a new striker has been evident for several months, with protracted pursuits of Argentine international Gonzalo Higuain and unsettled Liverpool talisman Luis Suarez proving ultimately fruitless.

Real Madrid's French international Karim Benzema is the other forward persistently linked with a switch to the Gunners, but the completion of another potentially extravagant deal with only a matter of hours remaining before the transfer window closes until January is surely unlikely. 

But with such a raft of big name forwards being linked with the club, I would argue that a marquee signing is not necessary in that particular department and in French striker Olivier Giroud, I believe Arsenal already have their heir to Robin van Persie. 

Giroud did not always endear himself to the Emirates faithful during his first season in North London, but he has begun the current campaign in formidable form with impressive goals against Aston Villa, Fulham and fierce adversaries Spurs in addition to the penalty converted against Fenerbahce.

There is an unmistakable air of confidence about the former Montpellier man at present that was not always obvious at times last season. The 26-year-old, who has won 20 caps for his native France, appears to be reaping the considerable benefits of a second pre-season in England and is out to prove a point to the many who doubted his abilities and poured scorn upon his modest tally of 17 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions during the 2013/13 season. 

Giroud is a supreme and hugely intimidating physical specimen and exactly what is required in the often gruelling and physical world of Premier League football. While he is obviously not quite as mobile as many of his attacking accomplices, his large frame makes him a real nuisance for opposition defenders and his technical skill and potent finishing ability was clearly evidenced by his deft finish in yesterday's North London derby.  

So, what is the reason for Giroud's sudden upturn in fortunes? Is it possible that the seemingly never-ending list of top-caliber strikers being linked with moves to Arsenal has provoked the Frenchman into finally discovering his best form? 

Ultimately, it would be unfair for Wenger to burden Giroud with the hefty expectation of essentially being Arsenal's only real striking threat. The Gunners do definitely need to provide at least one practical alternative during the remaining hours of the transfer window, but in Giroud they could already have that star striker who is ready to prove that he is a credible successor to the departed Van Persie. 

Topics:
Football
Arsenal
Premier League
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