I am sure that there was a large portion of Arsenal fans who did not really know who Olivier Giroud was when Arsene Wenger signed him almost three years ago. And even though Wenger stated that the French striker was not meant as a direct replacement for Robin van Persie, that was the criteria by which he was judged and found wanting.
But you cannot argue with the stats and those show that Giroud has got better and better since coming to north London. Now many of us are left wondering how much closer (or even ahead) of the league leaders Chelsea we would be now if Giroud had not missed three months with a broken leg.
His improvement and current form have certainly proved the manager right for signing him in the first place and Wenger has suggested that Giroud is now right up there with the best strikers in the league and even thinks that we have not seen the best of the late blooming 29-year old yet, as an Arsenal.com report explains.
Wenger said, “He is a player who has a good mental strength because at 22 he was playing in division three. Now he plays at Arsenal. There is still room for improvement for him.
“He benefits from the fact that he has not started a few games. He has also improved his technical game. Technically he is a much better player and that’s why he scores goals.
“His touch, his link play, his finishing [has all improved]. He takes some images from when he arrived in England and today he is a better player.
“I think [he is one of the best strikers around] because he scores the goals, has a presence and he’s a fighter as well. Above all he is a team player – he fights for the team.”
There are still plenty of doubters in the media and among his own Arsenal fans, but Giroud´s figures are amazing, as is his influence on our results. If you still doubt Wenger´s claim that Giroud belongs with the league´s top strikers like Rooney, Aguero, Costa and Kane, maybe this little stats comparison from Squawka.com will convince you.