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Monday, 18 June 2012

Arsenal: Can Olivier Giroud be the new Thierry Henry?

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Arsene Wenger is on the verge of bolstering his squad for the new season with the arrival of French striker Olivier Giroud. The Montpellier hitman is reportedly close to agreeing terms with the Gunners in a deal worth £12 million, but how good is the Frenchman and can he be the new Thierry Henry?

Giroud, 25, was joint top scorer in Ligue 1 last season as his 21 goals helped Montpellier clinch the title. With a total of 39 goals in 86 games for the La Paillade, the marksman, who stands proud at 6ft 3in, is more than just an out and out striker. He is very much a team player, having a helping hand in nine goals for team-mates last season.

Arsenal have a long and proud history of Frenchmen representing their club. Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry instantly spring to mind, but can Giroud break into that group of players? There's no doubt that Giroud is a special talent. He is technically sound, comfortable with both feet and must be good to have Wenger interested. However, Wenger has made a few blunders in the transfer market recently. Sebastien Squillaci, Manuel Almunia, Denilson and Marouane Chamakh have all failed to make the grade at the Emirates. Wenger will be hoping that Giroud doesn't fall in that category.

Giroud oozes confidence and loves the extraordinary, but most importantly he knows where the goals are. Whether it's with his left or right, outside of the box or inside the six-yard area, Giroud can finish with aplomb. It was no surprise to see him being handed his international debut for France against the United States in November 2011. He scored his first goal for France in a 2-1 win over Germany in February and has now made seven appearances for Les Blues.

Many experts believe the arrival of Giroud and Podolski signals the end of Robin Van Persie at Arsenal, but maybe, just maybe, Arsene Wenger is determined to make a sustained effort for silverware this season. That's what the Arsenal fans will have to believe.

Thierry Henry joined Arsenal at the age of 22 after a disappointing spell at Italian giants Juventus. However, Wenger gave the youngster back his confidence and the rest as they say is history. Henry is the Gunners' record goalscorer, an Arsenal fan and an absolute legend with the supporters. Giroud has an awful lot to do to reach those dizzy heights of Henry's but everyone knows Arsenal's style of play will see him being presented with a host of goalscoring opportunities. Whether he can adapt to the physical nature of the game remains to be seen, but Giroud should be £12 million well spent.

Watch Giroud in action here:


Calling all Arsenal fans: How excited are you about the prospect of Olivier Giroud signing for the Gunners? Do you think he can be the new Thierry Henry? Will Giroud's arrival signal the departure of Robin Van Persie? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth



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