Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has revealed that he held transfer talks with this weekend's opponents Middlesbrough back in 2010, which could have seen him line up against the Gunners in the FA Cup under different circumstances.
Giroud began his rise towards the highest level by swapping FC Tours for Ligue 1 side Montpellier five years ago in a deal worth £1.75 million, but only after snubbing interest from both Middlesbrough and Celtic.
The French international ended up British soil two years later after his 21 goals helped Montpellier win Ligue 1 against the odds, but he still has a soft spot for a club in Boro that recognised his potential early on.
Remember the good times
Ahead of a fifth-round tie at the Emirates the 28-year-old was asked if rumours that he nearly joined Middlesbrough were true, telling the Daily Mail: "Yes, that’s true.
"Middlesbrough and Celtic [also wanted to sign me]. It was a great team… today they are close to coming back into the English Premier League. It will be nice to play against them and it will remind me of my previous years in Tours."
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Holding out big move proved to be correct decision
The vast majority of players offered the chance to swap Ligue 2 for playing in front of 50,000 at Celtic Park would have made a different choice to Giroud, but his move to Montpellier definitely proved to be the right one.
Giroud proved himself as one of French football's top strikers and his patience was rewarded with a big-money move to Arsenal, who paid £13m to reunite the marksman with former Tours team-mate Laurent Koscielny.
The 28-year-old has taken his time to win over Arsenal fans but now deserves his spot as one of Arsene Wenger's most important players, offering a physical presence that no other forward in his squad can match.
A healthy goal return of 47 goals in 117 games proves Giroud is more than just a target man too, but the challenge now is to prove he can be consistent enough to spearhead a title challenge or significant improvement in the Champions League.
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