Arsenal transfer rumour: Olivier Giroud was close to joining Napoli in the summer
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud was back in action on Saturday and immediately back amongst the goals, scoring a brace against a helpless Sunderland side that seem to be diving deep into the abyss of relegation with just 10 games played so far. However, if reports from the Italian media house Calciomercato are to be believed, the French striker was close to moving to Italy, with both Napoli and Inter Milan keen to acquire his services after Arsenal made their intentions to part ways with him known to the respective clubs.
Arsenal were believed to have offered Napoli €50 million and Giroud for Gonzalo Higuain. However, that did not match Napoli’s valuation of the player as they demanded €60 million and Giroud for the prolific Argentine. Higuain eventually moved to Juventus in a big money move believed to be in the region of €76 million and continues to flourish in Turin.
The Naples club continues to track the future of Giroud and could try and swoop in on the Frenchman in the January transfer window, should they see an opportunity. However, it remains to be seen if Arsenal would be keen to part ways with a key player in the squad in the middle of the season, especially with their thin resources in the striking department and their continued troubles with injuries.
The player returned late to his club owing to his commitments with the French National team in the Euro 2016. However, he picked up an injury in his side’s Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain and has since spent time on the medical table. However, he repaid his manager’s faith in him on Saturday by producing two world class goals out of his first two touches of the game.
While the first goal was a well-controlled volley off a Kieran Gibbs cross, the striker got ahead of his marker Papy Djilobodjy to arch a header over Sunderland’s keeper Jordan Pickford.
In addition to the revelation about Napoli’s interest in Giroud, the mentioned report also claimed that Arsenal were more than willing to offer Giroud+ Cash to bring in the Inter Milan striker and captain Mauro Icardi. The Argentine, although a controversial figure at the club, has been consistently amongst the goals for the club and has drawn interest from numerous top European clubs in the past, including Arsenal.
However, with his troubles off the pitch catching the imagination of millions of fans worldwide, the player might finally decide to move away from Italy and his long-term admirer, Arsene Wenger would be well served to bring him to the Emirates.
Arsenal are flourishing at the moment and with Alexis Sanchez on fire, Giroud might be restricted to a bit-part role at the club. However, should he continue to put in game-changing performances like he did on Saturday, helping his side out of a precarious situation, he could be vital to the Gunners’ title challenge.
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