Giroud wants Vardy move

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (right) taking on the Arsenal defence in a Premier League match last season. Vardy won the title with the Foxes but could be lining up for Arsenal next season after the Gunners triggered the release clause in his co
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (right) taking on the Arsenal defence in a Premier League match last season. Vardy won the title with the Foxes but could be lining up for Arsenal next season after the Gunners triggered the release clause in his contract.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

Frenchman welcomes competition but suggests Arsenal could play with two strikers

LONDON • Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has welcomed the prospect of Jamie Vardy joining him at the Emirates Stadium, even if it means there is increased competition in the attacking front.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the Frenchman said: "I have been told that Jamie wants to join us and it's very good news for us. I think we can be complementary and that's all I can say. He's a fantastic player."

Arsenal are set to sign Vardy after a £22 million (S$43.34 million) bid to trigger the release clause in the Leicester City striker's contract.

It is believed that Vardy has undergone a medical with Arsenal yesterday. Leicester will be reluctant to lose their star striker, whose 24 goals helped the Foxes to their first Premier League title last season. But they are unable to keep him once the release clause has been triggered.

Vardy would become Arsene Wenger's second summer signing following the £30 million arrival of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach last month, as the Arsenal manager seeks to build a title-winning side for next season.

Asked if Wenger would abandon his usual 4-2-3-1 formation for a new system to accommodate him and Vardy, France striker Giroud said: "Obviously 4-4-2."

He added: "As I said in the past I am happy with competition. We have always had fantastic strikers at Arsenal and I want the best for this club. Hopefully he is going to help us win this title.

"The boss wanted to sign at least one or two strikers, so I expected a top striker and I think it will benefit the club and hopefully he is going to score a lot of goals like he did at Leicester."

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri also gave credence to the speculation surrounding Vardy's future.

"Yes, it's all true," the Italian told an Italian newspaper on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Manchester City are preparing to trigger another potentially acrimonious transfer tussle with Arsenal by making bids for midfielder Jack Wilshere and full-back Hector Bellerin.

City's interest in Wilshere islong-standing and new manager Pep Guardiola has identified Bellerin as the player he wants to become the club's first-choice right back next season.

Bellerin came through the fabled La Masia academy at Barcelona while Guardiola was in charge of the first-team at the Nou Camp before leaving for Arsenal at the age of 16, so the pair know each other well.

The 21-year-old was one of Arsenal's best players last season, earning him a call-up to Spain's Euro 2016 squad.

Guardiola has made signing a right-back one of his priorities, as Pablo Zabaleta is expected to leave and rejoin former City boss Roberto Mancini at Inter Milan, leaving Bacary Sagna, 33, as the club's only specialist in that position.

Arsenal have sold Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, Sagna and Samir Nasri to City in recent years, but would fiercely resist an offer for Bellerin, who has four years left on his contract at the Emirates Stadium.

City may find it easier to prise away Wilshere, who is due to have talks about a new contract at Arsenal this summer as he enters the final two years of his existing deal. Should the 24-year-old stay at the club, he faces a battle to secure a place in his preferred central midfield position next season.

Arsenal may find it difficult to turn down an offer for Wilshere, particularly if he is seeking a fresh challenge. But they could also allow him to run down his contract.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2016, with the headline 'Giroud wants Vardy move'. Print Edition | Subscribe