Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has admitted that he genuinely came close to leaving the club during the summer in the pursuit of more regular football, before ultimately deciding to stay with the Gunners because he felt the 'story was not finished'.
A year before the 2018 World Cup, Giroud was linked with Everton and West Ham, yet Arsenal remained firmly in his heart after spending the last five years at the Emirates Stadium.
"Actually that was a very private decision because it's true that I was close to leaving the club because I said that I wanted to play," the Frenchman explained at a press conference ahead of the Gunners' Europa League opener against Cologne (via Arsenal.com).
"But after a big reflection with everybody around me, like my family and my close friends in a supportive way, I wanted to stay at the Arsenal and I thought the story was not over, it was not finished at Arsenal," he added.
"The club bring me a lot and I think I give it back and I still want to improve again and again and win some more trophies for the club.
"So as I said to the boss our story was not finished, and everybody was pleased with that."
Giroud's next goal will be his 100th in Arsenal colours after he netted his 99th in the 4-3 victory over Leicester in the first game of the new Premier League season.
Only 18 players in the 131-year history of the club have scored more than Giroud, with Theo Walcott (100 goals) the only current player ahead of him on the all-time list.