Who is Arsenal's Olivier Giroud?

Arsenal announced on Tuesday morning they had agreed to sign France and Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud - but he remains something of an unknown quantity to English fans.


The 25-year-old broke into the France squad in time for Euro 2012 but has played only two seasons of top-flight football for Montpellier.

Though his highlights, and those of every other footballer, can be found on YouTube, Giroud has operated somewhat under the radar in England given Ligue 1 matches are not broadcast on this side of the channel.

So we asked one of our continental colleagues to give us the low-down on Arsenal's £13 million signing.

Vincent Bregevin, Eurosport-Yahoo! France

"Firstly, Giroud has a good state of mind, which is matter of debate concerning any French player right now given Samir Nasri's outburst at Euro 2012. I feel he will be a perfect fit for the Premier League and for Arsenal. He reached another level this year, becoming the biggest contributor to Montpellier's title success as he proved he was the best striker in Ligue 1 .

"He’s a left-footer, physically strong and especially good in the air. He has a real ability to find the best positions and use his body to great effect. He’s not only a poacher, despite being Ligue 1's top scorer last season with 21 goals. He also had 10 assists, which means he makes good choices on the pitch. Overall, he is a complete forward.

"He was called up for France Under-16s in 2001 but struggled to establish himself in Grenoble, where he came through the ranks. He was unknown when he joined Ligue 2 side Tours in 2009, playing alongside Laurent Koscielny, but he exploded and was named Ligue 2 Player of the Year in 2010, just before Montpellier signed him.

"He’s the opposite of a player like Hatem Ben Arfa, who was a rising star from a young age. Giroud instead proved to be a late developer, mostly because Grenoble didn’t trust him. He had to go to Istres (in the National league, equivalent to League One) on loan, where he first made his mark. Traditionally, French teams look too favourably on Ligue 2 players, but with their low budget Montpellier are one of the teams that have to, which was fortunate for Giroud.

"Concerning his weaknesses, he might lack a bit of explosive pace which could be explained by his physical attributes. There’s also some uncertainty about him playing in a top team, as he never did that in France. Arsenal and England is another level, with bigger expectations, and he will have to adapt to this. I think he has a good chance to grow as a player at Arsenal, especially with Arsene Wenger as a coach."

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Giroud was joint top scorer in Ligue 1 last season with 21 goals. One came via his head, 16 from his left boot and from his right. Two were penalties and five came from outside the area.

Our infographic below outlines his career to date:

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