Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has revealed that both the arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal and the words of France international coach Didier Deschamps were behind his recent move to Stamford Bridge, but also that west London was not his only choice.
The 31-year-old made his deadline day move to the Blues from the Emirates Stadium for a fee believed to be around £18m in the hope to revive his season following a string of substitute appearances in north London.
The Frenchman's lack of game time was expected to prove costly in his bid to secure a place in his national side's squad ahead of the World Cup this summer, however he now hopes that after taking Les Blues coach Deschamps' advice to leave the Gunners, that Antonio Conte's outfit will prove to be the correct choice, despite a number of others also being on the table.
Batshuayi two goals. Sanchez one goal. Aubameyang one goal. Mkhitaryan three assists. Giroud ??— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) February 3, 2018
“A week before the end of the transfer window, I needed to hear his (Deschamps') opinion", Giroud told his home nation news outlet Telefoot.
"He didn't encourage me to join Chelsea. But he encouraged me to change clubs.
"Dortmund were interested but for a loan deal. There was Sevilla and my agent also received a phone call from Roma. But my choice was quite clear and obvious when I knew that Antonio Conte wanted to work with me.
"There are two central strikers at Chelsea. There will be good competition between us."
Part of the clarity in his decision to leave Arsenal was the arrival of Aubameyang, who, when added to summer signing Alexandre Lacazette, meant that Giroud was expected to be third choice striker for a role where boss Arsene Wenger usually sits one.
“I had wanted to stay at Arsenal to try my luck even when Alex Lacazette arrived", he added.
"The reality is that the coach (Arsene Wenger) wanted to recruit another central striker (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang).
"When he signed, that made three central strikers and that is why I decided to leave.
"It was logical to give my career a new direction. There was a bit of disappointment even if I spent five magnificent years there.
"I could have stayed but I needed a back-up plan. I wanted to stay in the Premier League and Chelsea was a great opportunity for me.”