Arsene Wenger has given the clearest indication yet that Olivier Giroud’s future may lie at Arsenal after all. The French striker had been heavily linked with an exit since countryman Alexandre Lacazette joined from Lyon in a club-record deal, Giroud stating a fortnight ago that a summer move away from North London was ‘an option’, as reported by The Mirror.
Yet, Wenger believes that the 30-year-old will still be at The Emirates beyond the August transfer deadline.
“Giroud fancies the competition. As a manager, you have him on your back, wanting to play,” Wenger told The Mirror of Giroud, who started just 11 Premier League games last season. “He fights hard, you know. I like the way he responds to what’s happening. He is focused and determined and showed that on this tour.”
Giroud's place has never been more under threat at Arsenal
And this is certainly a blow for Everton, The Express reporting that The Toffees had identified Giroud as the perfect replacement for Romelu Lukaku after his £75 million move to Manchester United earlier this month.
However, the report adds that Everton have a contingency plan in place, one they may now be forced to activate. The Express claims that the big-spending Merseysiders have chosen Leicester City’s Islam Slimani as an alternative to the hirsute Frenchman.
Slimani is certainly a similar style of striker, excellent in the air and a traditional old-school number nine. And it appears a difficult first season at Leicester City, scoring just seven Premier League goals since becoming their club-record signing, has not put Everton off.
Which is possible no surprise considering the club have tracked the Algerian for a number of years. The Express reported in 2014 that Slimani had piqued Everton’s interest after impressing at the 2014 World Cup, helping Algeria reach the knockout phase. And, after plundering 27 goals in 33 league games for Sporting, The Sun claimed last summer that Everton made a bid of £21 million.
Slimani started just 13 Premier League games last season
Will they make it third time lucky this summer? It largely depends on whether Leicester are willing to cut their losses.