Some Giroud transfer news has been doing the rounds again. The Frenchman was linked with Everton a lot in the summer and the same links have begun re-emerging again. Everton still need a striker and Giroud is still struggling for game-time at Arsenal. Is it a match made in heaven? Maybe not…
We’re going to take a look at the Giroud, Everton situations individually and whether they can combine.
Nationality: 66 caps 27 goals
Position: centre forward
Reported Transfer Fee: £40mil
2016/17 League Stats: 11 starts (18 sub appearances) 12 goals (3 assists)
Olivier Giroud’s problems at Arsenal started last season. Alexis Sanchez was fancied for most of the season in the lone striker role; higher up the pitch than maybe he’s used to. Danny Welbeck also returned from injury towards the end of the season and this added to Giroud’s difficulties.
This season has started in much the same way for Giroud. Alexandre Lacazette was signed for big money and came with a big reputation, which so far he’s justifying and looks like he could be the striker Arsenal have been crying out for.
Welbeck’s readiness for the start of the season has arguably made things even more difficult this season for Giroud too. As a result the Frenchman has started every league game on the bench this season. He looks like 4th choice as presumably Sanchez or Welbeck will be moved back into a forward role, like last season, if Lacazette is unavailable.
Despite his limited opportunities Giroud still managed score to 12 goals last season as he ended up as Arsenal’s second top scorer. Every time he stepped on to the pitch he seemed to score or make a notable contribution. It certainly doesn’t seem like Giroud has declined as a player, if anything it feels like he has maintained a decent standard and still looks like the player who was performing well before he started finding himself on the bench.
I think he can count himself a little unlucky.
Giroud hasn’t been the prolific 20-30 goal a season striker Arsenal have demanded since Henry left though. Adebayor and Van Persie have had the odd goal packed season since but neither scored at a consistently high level and it looks like Giroud has fallen into a similar category. As a result Giroud now seems to be viewed firmly as an impact player by Wenger. It’s hard to see him ever reclaiming his position as Arsenal’s main man.
Giroud does lack pace and that could be part of the reason for his reduced role. Lacazette and Sanchez are far more mobile. Given how Arsenal tend to camp in opposition halves in the majority of games however it doesn’t seem of huge importance as it’s not as if Arsenal hit teams with quick transitions very often. Arsenal tend to face teams which sit deep.
Giroud’s contribution to build-up play would be an important factor though to his suitability in the Arsenal system and he doesn’t have the same technical ability of Sanchez or even Lacazette. Both of them are able to link up with the intricate passing patterns Arsenal like to use around opposition’s boxes. Giroud can be found wanting in this respect. His ball control is decent but his passing isn’t great.
Giroud’s situation might not be too surprising considering this and Arsenal’s strength in the striking department. Sanchez has proven he can play as a striker and score plenty of goals, to add to his high contribution to general play. Lets face it, he’s world-class.
Lacazette looks like he too has the potential to become a world-class striker. He’s hit the ground running since joining and looks capable of scoring the best part of 30 goals this season. He’s still relatively young so the sky’s the limit.
Compared to such players there can be no real argument. Giroud’s good but they’re better.
Giroud is still highly regarded though and there is no better example of this than his continual presence in French squads. The competition in attacking areas is as good as any other country in the world at the moment. The likes of Mbappe, Dembele, Griezmann, Lacazette and Gamiero is some standard. Yet Giroud is usually involved. He offers something different with his aerial and physical presence.
He’s one of the best around at what he does, the dying art of the old-fashioned, physical centre forward.
Everton’s problem’s in the striker department are well known and haven’t been rectified despite clearly being a problem in the summer. In fact a lot of what I said regarding the Vardy links still applies. Everton didn’t or couldn’t find anyone to help fill the void left by Lukaku.
Everton had some tough fixtures to start the season, so their poor start may not be a disaster. I’m personally surprised they haven’t picked up a few more points I must admit. Whilst the manner of some of the defeats has been concerning. 10 goals conceded in 3 games falls short of Everton standards.
It even took a late rescue job from Oumar Niasse to get the points versus Bournemouth recently. Considering how he’s been treated Everton or maybe more appropriately, Koeman, should be very grateful.
Niasse looked like he was out in the cold but a combination of hard work, decent attitude and luck has meant he seems to be back in the frame. Physically he has everything needed to succeed in England but probably lacks the composure and movement to impose himself, long-term, on the Everton first team. He looks like potentially their best option right now though and deserves more chances.
You can understand the interest in someone of Giroud’s quality.
Giroud probably walks into the Everton team at the moment and I’m confident he’d score goals in most teams. I think there’s better fits though than Giroud and Everton
Everton have invested in a lot of ‘technicians’ in the attacking midfield area this summer. Klaassen, Sigurdsson, even Rooney are all play-makers to some extent. Giroud operates within the width of the penalty area, using his physicality and strength in the air.
For players like Giroud to perform at their best they need service, preferably from out wide. They also need runners in and around them to benefit from the hold up play and break the defensive line because Giroud won’t be stretching defences. This will create space and move the defenders around.
The only width Everton provide is through their wing-backs at the moment, so for Giroud to flourish there would be a strong onus on them to perform. It’s not a strong part of the pitch for Everton.
Whilst there’s not much movement provided from the attacking midfield area as the current options don’t have in their game. Sigurdsson, Klaassen, Rooney and Tom Davies aren’t renown for their pace and movement.
In all honesty this is part of Everton’s problem going forward at the moment and with a front man like Giroud it’s hard to see much of an improvement.
Bolasie’s return can’t come soon enough for Everton plus Mirallas and Lookman surely deserve more chances given the pace and movement they provide. Calvert-Lewin is another option and would provide better movement from deeper and may also enjoy the reduced responsibility with a deeper role.
If Giroud isn’t unsettled by sitting on the bench yet, he should be. He might not be good enough for Arsenal right now but he’s too good to be wasting the best years of his career on the bench.
He might be too good for Everton as well. Their poor start will do little to convince him otherwise. He may feel there’s better alternatives for him. Marseille were mentioned in the summer and a return to France is likely to be appealing. If I was a betting man I’d say that’s most likely.
January may come too soon, although of all the rumours I’ve covered so far, I’d be less surprised by Giroud moving in the winter. I’d definitely be shocked if he doesn’t move by the summer though.
It’s looking like a second season on the bench for Giroud, he really can’t allow a third.