Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stressed that Olivier Giroud remains in his plans after the striker was chosen to start Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal win over Wigan Athletic from the substitute’s bench. Giroud later came on and scored in the penalty shootout to help Arsenal to reach next month’s final. However, The Sun has claimed that Wenger intends to dispense with the France international this summer in part due to Giroud’s much-publicized breaching of club discipline when having a model in his hotel room the night before a clash with Liverpool in February.
After a fine start to the season, Giroud’s form has tailed off of late. Yet, Wenger attributed that and his exclusion at Wembley to fatigue.
“He has a fantastic spirit, Olivier Giroud is a fantastic team player,” he said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “He has gone through a little bit more of a difficult period, but that happens to any striker. Striker is the most demanding position, he has played many, many games -- more games than any other striker in the Premier League, and that of course is very demanding.”
Whatever the future holds for Giroud, it is difficult to imagine Wenger not entering the transfer market for a quality striker this summer. A lack of dependable cover for Giroud has been evident throughout the season. Yaya Sanogo, who started ahead of Giroud on Saturday, has yet to score for the Gunners, while Nicklas Bendtner has continued to attract more headlines for his behavior off the pitch than on it.
One of the strikers Arsenal are thought to be targeting is Loic Remy. The France international has scored 13 Premier League goals on loan at Newcastle United from Queens Park Rangers this season. While Newcastle have been open about their desire to sign him on a permanent basis, they have also conceded that it will be difficult to persuade him to stay. And the former Marseille man has admitted that he wants to play for a major club, with negotiations already ongoing.
“Clubs are discussing with my agent, I’m open for everything,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. "I want to join a great European club, to play at the highest level.
“Regarding my future, everything is possible, even coming back to France. I’ve played for great clubs in France, like Lyon and Marseille.”
Remy would be significantly less expensive than another of their rumored targets. Arsenal continue to be linked with Benfica forward Rodrigo Moreno, with the Sunday People even claiming that Arsenal are prepared to pay £28 million to bring the 23-year-old to the Emirates Stadium. However, the article also states that Internazionale are also prepared to match his asking price.
Rodrigo’s rights were purchased by a third party for €30 million (£24.8m) in January, meaning that there is a strong chance he will leave Portugal this summer. The Spain Under-21 international, who can play out wide or through the middle, has scored 16 goals for Benfica this season. He has also been strongly linked with Liverpool.