Olivier Giroud appears to be edging closer to the Emirates exit door, with London neighbours West Ham United emerging as serious contenders for his signature.
According to the Mirror, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic is prepared to ‘break the bank’ for the France international, as he seeks a quality addition to his forward line.
With Arsenal steeping up their pursuit of Lyon sharpshooter Alexandre Lacazette, they may look to balance the books with a departure. And Giroud could be that man, if this latest report is to be believed, which claims that the Hammers would be willing to part with £20 million plus £130,000 a week in wages.
West Ham were linked with a number of high-profile strikers season – including Lacazette, coincidentally – but only managed to land Andre Ayew from Swansea City.
What would Giroud bring to the Hammers?
The 30-year-old Frenchman has polarised the opinion of Arsenal supporters during his five-year spell at the club. He was characterised early on as a striker who posed an aerial threat, but one who was let down by a lack of pace.
Giroud was viewed as symbolic of Wenger’s transfer strategy – a good player, but not at the elite level. However, one look at Giroud’s goalscoring record at Arsenal underlines his ability to find with net with regularity.
He has scored 69 goals in 164 Premier League appearances – that’s close to one every two games.
West Ham’s attacking problems have been well documented. They scored only 47 goals last season en route to a disappointing 11th-placed position.
Bilic clearly believes that Giroud is the 15-goal striker he craves, something that is supported by his career statistics.
If Arsenal land Lacazette – and that is still an ‘if’ – then it is feasible Wenger would be willing to sanction the sale of Giroud, whom he used more sparingly last season.
Arsenal are well stocked in the number nine role ,with Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez the other options. At 30, the Frenchman is entering the latter stages of his career and a bid of £20 million could tempt Wenger to sell.
However, the big question is, would Giroud be willing to swap the Emirates for the London Stadium?
If he is deemed surplus to requirements he is likely not to be short of offers, particularly from his homeland, which may be more appealing.