Olivier Giroud reveals just how close he came to leaving Arsenal this summer

Mark Mann-Bryans
The Independent

Olivier Giroud has revealed he came close to leaving Arsenal this summer but has pledged that his "story is not over" with the Gunners now he has chosen to stay.

The Frenchman has fallen behind club-record signing and compatriot Alexandre Lacazette in the pecking order restricting him to substitute appearances in all four league games so far.

Danny Welbeck also appaears to have surpassed Giroud in manager Arsene Wenger's thinking but the 30-year-old striker is likely to get a rare chance to impress from the start in Thursday's Europa League clash with Koln.

Wenger will make a raft of changes as Arsenal play in the competition for the first time in 17 years, with Giroud expected to be one of several given a chance to impress.

Giroud, who has always struggled to hold down a regular first-team place at the Emirates, admits that he nearly quit during the window having been linked with the likes of Everton and West Ham.

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Asked how close he came to leaving Arsenal, Giroud said: "Actually that's a very private decision because it's true that I was close to leaving the club because I said that I wanted to play. But after a big reflection with everybody around me, like my family and my close friends, I (decided I) wanted to stay at Arsenal and I thought the story was not over, (not) finished at Arsenal.

"The club bring me a lot and I think I give it back. I still want to improve again and again and win some more trophies for the club, so as I said to the boss our story is not finished, so everybody was pleased with that."

Wenger has always maintained his desire to keep Giroud - who has 99 goals for the club - at Arsenal and was full of praise for the striker on the eve of the Koln clash.

Giroud came off the bench to score Arsenal's winner on opening day (Getty Images)
Giroud came off the bench to score Arsenal's winner on opening day (Getty Images)

"I have said many times that his contribution has been huge," he said. "He has had a great evolution here and overall (his) contribution has been tremendous, and I think he has shown a very loyal spirit and has a high respect from everybody inside the club, as well as (from) our fans."

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