Lyon President Reveals Arsene Wenger Blocked Olivier Giroud Transfer as Gunners Boss Hails Frenchman
Lyon's controversial president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that Arsene Wenger blocked an approach from the Ligue 1 side to bring Olivier Giroud back to his homeland this summer.
The 30-year-old forward has been linked with a move away from the Emirates for most of the summer, with Everton and Marseille both reported to be interested, but Wenger looks to have made keeping hold of the powerful striker a priority.
Speaking to Le Progres (via Le10Sport), Aulas - who had initially hoped to bring Giroud on board as part of Arsenal's move for Alexandre Lacazette - said:
Meanwhile, Wenger himself insisted that he is determined to keep the France international at the Emirates, despite starting him just 11 times in the Premier League last season - compared to 18 substitute appearances.
"Giroud fancies the competition," Wenger told the press. "As a manager, you have him on your back, wanting to play. He fights hard, you know. I like the way he responds to what's happening. He is focused and determined and showed that on the (pre-season) tour."
Despite his limited appearances, Giroud's eye for goal impressed during the 2016/17 campaign - scoring at a rate of better than a goal per 100 minutes in the league, including an outrageous 'scorpion kick' strike against Crystal Palace on New Year's Day.
The club record signing of compatriot Lacazette is expected to cut into his playing time, especially if Alexis Sanchez stays in north London for one more season, but a testing Europa League campaign could see Giroud yet play a major part in the Gunners' squad.