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Olivier Giroud has said he will consider leaving Arsenal in Janaury, as his thoughts turn to winning a place in France’s squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup this summer.
Manager Arsene Wenger has continued to use him as an impact substitute, but the 31-year-old has admitted he is musing over his immediate future at the Emirates Stadium.
Speaking to L’Equipe, Giroud said he will question his career with the Gunners during the winter and could not rule out leaving in the forthcoming transfer window (h/t Chris Burton of Goal):
“I have the World Cup at the back of my mind weekly, almost daily.
“Each time I go onto the pitch, it’s to be more clinical and keep on track for the World Cup.
“If I wasn’t able to leave this summer, it was because of the opportunities I had.
“It wouldn’t have been good to leave for leaving’s sake, but it’s certain that eventually, even in January, I’m going to have to ask myself the question again.
“It won’t be easy to find the right solution and take the right decision, but we’ll look at the opportunities.“
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The striker added France manager Didier Deschamps has told him to stay under the guidance of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, but he will decide his plan in the weeks ahead.
Giroud has scored seven goals in 19 appearances in the Premier League and UEFA Europa League this term, but he has risen 13 times from the bench since the start of the campaign.
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has hinted his club do not need to consider new signings at present, and Giroud’s presence underlines the depth of Wenger’s squad.
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Speaking to the club’s official website, Wilshere said Giroud remains one of English football’s best strikers (h/t The Independent):
“I think it shows the depth in our squad.
“For me, Oli is one of the best strikers in the Premier League when he’s on it and he’s on the bench, so it shows what we’ve got.
“There are a lot of games in December, so I’m sure he’s going to get a start and if he’s coming on and scoring goals, that’s massive for the team and it was an important goal for him.“
Neil Moxley of the Sunday Mirror reported the Frenchman wants to stay in London and would consider a loan move to one of the capital’s clubs. West Ham United and Crystal Palace have taken note of the player’s thoughts, with both clubs potential loan destinations for the player in January.
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Per Burton, Marseille and Everton were both interested in making a bid for Giroud last summer, but the striker decided to remain loyal to Wenger.
Giroud has been an outstanding impact player from the bench, but he has failed to make a lasting impression when given a run as a starter.
The player has a limited skill set at No. 9, but his aerial threat makes him dangerous when Arsenal are chasing a goal late in the game.
The French ace will need more minutes if he is to persuade Deschamps to pick him for Russia 2018, increasing the chances of a premature exit from north London in January.