Arsene Wenger has revealed the three factors that proved influential in his decision to sell Olivier Giroud to Chelsea in the January transfer window, as reported by Football.London.
The 31-year-old French striker completed an £18m deadline day move from Arsenal to Chelsea, becoming the first player since Ashley Cole to make the direct switch from the Gunners to Stamford Bridge.
Wenger's decision to sell Giroud to a direct Premier League rival mid-season has been met with some level of scrutiny however, the Gunners boss was quick to justify his decision.
His main reason for offloading Giroud was so Arsenal could get a deal for Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang over the line, with the Gabon striker completing a record £56m transfer from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day.
“Olivier was massively popular inside the dressing room and club,” said Wenger. “But he wanted more playing time, he has not played many Premier League games and he wants to go to the World Cup as well, that’s why I opened the door when Aubameyang came in to give him a chance to get the competition he deserves.
“Ideally you want him to go to clubs who do not compete with you, but on the other hand it was a bit linked to the Aubameyang deal and he’s just had a third baby so it was very difficult on the family side to leave London.
"And I believe we owe Olivier Giroud a lot for his commitment, his dedication to the club and his love for the club was absolutely exceptional. So it was difficult to turn it down because it was a competitive club."
With Aubameyang coming in to immediately replace Giroud, Arsenal's front line has undergone a complete overhaul this season, with Alexandre Lacazette also joining the Gunners earlier in the season.
However, due to the signing of Aubameyang, the former Lyon man will face new competition for his place in the Arsenal lineup, with Wenger refusing to reserve a guaranteed place in the starting 11 for anyone.
"I don't reassure people. We are in a competitive world," explained Wenger. "We [have] chosen a job where there is competition, you have to fight for your place."
Arsenal's next game comes against Everton in the Premier League however, Arsenal new boy Aubameyang may have to wait to make his Gunners debut after being diagnosed with a sickness bug.