Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has confirmed he is in talks with the North London club to extend his contract beyond 2016.
The Frenchman was Arsenal’s primary striker last season and despite all the criticism levelled at some of his performances, he achieved a respectable goal tally of 16 efforts to go with nine assists.
There has been a lot of pressure surrounding Arsene Wenger and the need to sign a high profile centre forward to come in this summer, but this revelation from Giroud could be a sign the club is only thinking of signing back up options to him this summer.
“I have two years left on my contract [until June 2016] but we are in negotiations to extend. For now, I am here. There are many great things to do,” he told footmercato.net.
Wenger has a system and a set of tactics he likes to use, which is based around using one striker up front for the Gunners.
There has been speculation suggesting that the club could go after high profile signings such as Karim Benzema of Real Madrid or Mario Balotelli of AC Milan, which would subsequently question the logic behind any decision from Giroud to sign a new deal.
Based on Arsenal’s one striker system, why would Giroud commit to a long term deal if signings are about to arrive that threaten his position?
It’s also important to consider some of the lower profile players that Arsenal have been linked with, with more realistic chances of coming to the club and starting lower down the pecking order behind Giroud.
Loic Remy is an obvious candidate. A player Wenger wouldn’t be forced to pay more than £12 million for and a striker who has admitted he wants to be playing in the Champions League.
Remy guarantees that pace up front, which was lacking for Arsenal last season but he’d come in as a back up forward to Giroud and wouldn’t have the chance to overtake his fellow countryman until after the season started.
Michy Batshuayi of Standard Liege is another good example. A player who would cost £8 million (his release clause) and someone who couldn’t expect to start ahead of Giroud in the Premier League.
It’s still also possible that Wenger won’t sign a striker because a top quality winger down either side would release one of Lukas Podolski or Theo Walcott to move forward and become the back up option to Giroud.
It will be fascinating to see how Arsenal’s attack shapes up ahead of next season.