This will be an analysis of new Arsenal signing Olivier Giroud, a player Chelsea were also interested in. I'm curious; did we miss out on a potential great, or was our more feeble attempt at bringing him to the Bridge justified?
Background - Player History
Olivier Giroud is the definition of a late bloomer. The start of his 09-10 season with Tours FC, from Ligue 2, was perhaps when he started to bloom. In the previous season he had scored 9 goals, but being promoted to the team's lead striker lead to him scoring 13 league goals in only the first half of the season. This attracted the attention of Montpellier, who signed him and loaned him back to Tours for the rest of the season. He finished the season with 21 goals, and being named National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Ligue 2 Player of the Year, at the age of 23.
Giroud's 2010-11 Montpellier was interesting, to say the least. He made 43 appearances, 37 of which were league appearances and he scored 14 times in all competitions, with 12 league goals to his name. He made a name for himself scoring in big games, namely the Coupe de la Ligue Semifinal against Paris Saint-German, helping them into the final of the competition. However, immediately after this game, he went on a 2 month goal drought which only ended when he played PSG again at Parc des Princes and scored twice in a 2-2 draw. He was the club's top scorer that season.
He then continued his good form in the 2011-12 Ligue 1 season, in which he notched 21 league goals (25 in all competitions), earned the nickname le buteur de charme (English: the charm striker) - due to his scoring ability, as well as his personality and looks - and was Ligue 1's top scorer, winning the golden boot over PSG's Nene (despite both having 21 goals, Giroud scored more from open play) as well as winning the league with Montpellier.
Giroud is eerily similar to the Chelsea hero to whom we have just bade farewell; he's huge at 6 ft 4 and is known for his physical style of play and his heading ability. He also is coming into the Premier league as a late bloomer, having just had a breakout season at a big Ligue 1 club. Scary similar. These physical attributes, as well as the fact that he's a goal poacher and will be a strong presence up front, may mean that he really is what Arsenal needs in the hangover that would be Robin Van Persie's exit from the club.
I love to use whoscored.com to analyse players, however do remember that this is while playing in Ligue 1, which as we know isn't quite like the Premier league in both standard and style of play.
Olivier Giroud's Style
As well as scoring 21 league goals last season, he made 9 assists, and his style here gives some indication of that lack of selfishness.
|Aerial Duels||Very Strong|
These strengths, as opposed to others, are sure to serve him well in the Premier League, where Aerial Duels and long shots are often the weapons of choice of our strikers.
And here's his whoscored rating, but this does show something interesting as opposed to just telling us what we already know; he had a fantastic season in the Ligue 1 last season.
|Coupe de France||1||1||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He did score a 7.43 rating for his play in Ligue 1, which is very, very high, however in his 3 UEFA league games (during all of which he came on as a sub), he scored 5.87, which is very, very low. You can't judge a player at all from three substitutions, but it is interesting that when he came to face other types of opposition his game was far less impressive.
Finally, what most of you have probably done already, is look for a good video showing the type of player Giroud is and how he scores his goals. Here's the best one I found.
What do I see? Six long shots, Five golden headers, Four poached goals, Three little tap-ins, Two bicycle kicks and a partridge in a pear tree*. But seriously, he has a range to his game that a great CF needs, and I really think that Wenger may have brought Christmas to Arsenal early on this one.
But what do you think? Was he a good buy for Arsenal? Would you have him here at Chelsea? Think he's going to be anywhere close to Drogba? Will he be a steaming pile of Sutton-Fleck-Mutu-Kezman-Shevchenko-Torres? Have your say.
Interestingly, in a radio interview, Montpellier's owner said that Giroud would not be sold to any club for less than 50 to 60 million euros, though we know this was not going to happen as he's just been sold to Arsenal for a sum of around 13 million euros. I don't know about you, but this reminds me a bit of a man named Aurelio De Laurentiis - the owner of Napoli who rates Edinson Cavani at 100 million euros. I hope we can manufacture a similar type of bargain for Cavani, but I'm not holding my breath.
*Numbers may or may not have been changed for convenience purposes.