Olivier Giroud definitely splits opinion but there is no doubting that when he comes back from injury he will be a big player for Arsenal and could make the difference before the end of the season.
When he does come back he will have to make sure that he hits the back of the net on a regular basis and before he broke his left tibia, he had already scored two goals this season. For all of his critics his goal ratio is not actually that bad and he is very good at bringing the best out of players around him and Aaron Ramsey in particular looks a better player with Giroud in the side.
The 28 year old started his career in France with Grenoble and after eight years in the youth team he signed his first professional contract at the age of 21. His performances for the reserve team were remarkable as he scored 15 goals in 15 games and in March 2006 he was called up to the first team and made his debut on the 27th March against Gueugnon. Despite being around the first team he had to wait until the 26th February 2007 to score his first goal and it turned out to be vital as it was an injury time winner against Le Havre.
In the following season to ensure he got more game time he joined Istres on loan for the entire 2007-08 campaign. He performed very well for the club and scored 14 goals during the season but on his return to Grenoble he was deemed not good enough by recently appointed manager Mehmed Bazdarevic and on the 28th May 2008 he joined Tours.
Despite a few injuries in his first season at the club he scored another 14 goals in 27 games but unfortunately Tours failed to gain promotion to Ligue 1. In the 2009-10 season he was made the main striker at the club and this obviously gave the striker a lot of confidence and in the first half of the season he scored 16 goals which convinced Montpellier to sign him on the 26th January 2010. But as part of the agreement he was loaned back to Tours for the rest of the season and he ended his time with the club with 36 goals in 67 games and was named as the Ligue 2 Player of the Year at the end of his final season.
Giroud’s first season was up and down with Montpellier, with some goal scoring droughts that lasted nearly two months but he did end the campaign as their top scorer and helped them reach the final of the Coupe de la Ligue final, which was their first major final since 1994. But both the club and the striker would go onto better things in the following season with Montpellier winning the title and Giroud finishing as the league’s top scorer with 21 goals and also provided nine assists.
His form led to him being linked with moves away and after 39 goals in 85 games he joined Arsenal on the 26th June 2012. He took a short while to settle in England and had to wait until the 6th October to score his first league goal for the club in a 3-1 win over West Ham. In total he played 47 times during the 2012-13 season, scoring 17 goals and assisting a further 11 which was a promising start for a striker coming into a new league.
Arsenal and Giroud started last season brightly but they could not keep their form going in the league, however they did still manage to win the FA Cup. It was always going to be tough for Giroud to last the whole season as he was Arsenal’s only striker for the majority of the season and he had to play a lot of games but his 22 goals in 51 games was still a very good return.
The final word can go to Arsene Wenger. “He has a very good physical presence and is exceptional in the air, with a great work effort. He has proved that he is capable of performing at the top level with club and country.”