Olivier Giroud's Arsenal U-turn could have scuppered Everton's European ambitions

Ronald Koeman, Manager of Everton looks dejected during the Premier League match between Hull City and Everton at KCOM Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Hull, England.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud would surely have been a more than capable replacement for Romelu Lukaku at Everton.

Ronald Koeman, Manager of Everton looks dejected during the Premier League match between Hull City and Everton at KCOM Stadium on December 30, 2016 in Hull, England.

Only the bottom two, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, have scored fewer goals than Everton in the opening four games of the new Premier League season.

Ronald Koeman would have known that it would have been extremely difficult to replace Romelu Lukaku, who plundered 25 goals in the top flight to earn a move to Manchester United this summer. However, with The Toffees hitting the back of the net just twice in 2017/18, you wonder whether an excellent summer of incomings will be undermined by the lack of a prolific goalscorer.

Furthermore, it does not help that Olivier Giroud, the Arsenal striker who had reportedly been one of Everton’s first-choice targets to replace Lukaku, has admitted that he so nearly bid farewell to The Emirates this summer after five seasons and 98 goals.

Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates his sides second gol during The Emirates FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2017 in London, England.

“It's true I was close to leaving the club,” Giroud said in quotes reported by The Mail after starting just 11 league games last season

“I said I wanted to play but after big reflection with everybody around me like my family and close friends in a supportive way I decided I wanted to stay at the Arsenal. I thought the story was not finished.”

However, after Arsenal paid a club-record fee to land Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, Giroud’s future as a starter appears to be more in doubt than ever. The 30-year-old has featured in all of The Gunners’ Premier League games this season but each appearance has come from the bench, tallying just 91 minutes overall.

Olivier Giroud of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on August 11, 2017 in London, England.

The skilful targetman, however, would certainly have played more regularly for an Everton side lacking presence in attack. As it stands, Everton’s desire to challenge for Champions League qualification looks unlikely indeed with Sandro Ramirez, Wayne Rooney and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as their striking options.

If only Giroud hadn’t had a change of heart.

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