Giroud itching for more play time

Though sidelined at Arsenal, Olivier Giroud is first choice for France and likely to play against Sweden in their World Cup qualifier.
Though sidelined at Arsenal, Olivier Giroud is first choice for France and likely to play against Sweden in their World Cup qualifier.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Striker wants starting role at Arsenal and hints he might move if things don't improve

LONDON • Olivier Giroud has warned Arsenal that he may leave the club this summer if they sign a new striker because he does not want his first-team chances to be limited further next season.

The 30-year-old started 11 of 29 English Premier League games in which he played last season and scored 12 times.

He was often a substitute because Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger preferred to line up Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott in attack.

The Gunners have also been pursuing Monaco's Kylian Mbappe, Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette and Henry Onyekuru, who plays for Eupen in Belgium.

While Giroud has said that he is happy at the north London club, the former Montpellier striker says he wants to play more.

"I still have two or even three years left on my Arsenal contract, for the moment my future is at Arsenal," the Frenchman said."I feel good here, I want to win the Premier League with Arsenal. But I don't know what the future holds."

On Sunday, he told French television station TF1 that he would be interested in a move back to France, in particular Marseille, although he said he still wanted to win things in England.

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    Goals Olivier Giroud has scored for Arsenal over five seasons.

"Obviously, I'm not going to be happy with another year of playing so little," he added.

"I'm going to have to think about it with those close to me and my advisers. And I'll talk to the coach."

While he was often on the bench at Arsenal, Giroud has been first choice for France since Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema was omitted due to his implication in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape scandal.

Giroud hit a hat-trick in last Friday's 5-0 friendly win over Paraguay in Rennes, taking his tally to 26 goals in 62 France appearances.

He is set to feature for France in their crunch World Cup qualifier in Sweden tomorrow.

An Arsenal player who is likely to depart this summer is right-back Hector Bellerin.

In an interview with the Spanish media, the Barcelona native revealed that his family had left London and that it is difficult for him to not be with them.

"Being with my parents after games, it's something I've done since childhood," the 22-year-old said. "I like to share these moments with them. Everything is more difficult if they are not with you."

The Catalan side have reportedly agreed terms to sign Bellerin, who was a product of their academy.

It is believed that Arsenal have demanded £50 million (S$89 million) for the Spaniard.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'Giroud itching for more play time'. Print Edition | Subscribe