Image from: paininthearsenal.com
Olivier Giroud is a player who polarises opinion, with a split between those who think he is utterly useless and those who think he is a great striker. As ever, the truth is a bit of both and somewhere in the middle of those opposing views.
On the negative side, he lacks pace and acceleration, so he is unable to force defences to drop deep, allowing opponents to play a high line against him, lessening the space in midfield for his team. While he is tall, his heading ability is not the best and his leap is also short of putting him in the top bracket as an aerial presence.
The other main weak link that stands out regarding him is his finishing, it is a mile short of that of a clinical striker:
As that 'amazing goals' clips compilation highlights, with nearly 2 minutes and a number of clips at the beginning of the video, he is prone to missing the target with regularity. The fact that a quarter of the 8 minute clip shows him missing the target is a worry, these clips usually pick out a player's best bits.
On the other hand, what Giroud does supply is work rate, he does work hard for the team, always moving and looking to pull into gaps in opposing defences. His greatest strength though is his ability to link the play:
He has excellent vision and a very good range of passing, plus he can hold up the ball well, holding off defenders then playing midfield runners in, which has served Arsenal particularly well in recent years. Giroud is also very skilful, with a very good touch and a lovely left foot which possesses a powerful strike.
If only he was a bit more clinical, or had more pace, his abilities would see him in the top bracket of world strikers. Sadly, as is, his inability to stretch defences and create space for the midfield and his tendency to miss far too many chances leaves him as little more than a very good striker, but a little short of the quality required to win titles.
Giroud is excellent at dropping off, taking control of the ball, holding off the defender, then playing in a runner, like the old fashioned second striker role. At the moment though, playing in teams that play just one up top, he is unable to use his ability to its best, as he needs someone creating space to play in.
Give him a partner like Walcott or Sanchez, who are running in behind, creating space for the team and providing passing options, I believe you would see a completely different and far better Olivier Giroud. Though it would be partially about patching over his weaknesses, it would allow teams to get more from his strengths.
As a lone striker, leading the line, his lack of pace and his lack of finishing prowess are just not good enough. Unless Arsenal intend to go to playing a pair up front, which is unlikely due to the gaps it leaves in midfield, in my opinion they do need to look for an improved first choice.
As a back up striker, or as part of a duo, I do think he would be more than good enough, but he just fails to provide the goal threat of a top echelon forward.
Written by Tris Burke
Date of Birth: - 30th September 1986
Nationality: - French
Height: - 6ft 4inches
Position: - Striker
Club History: - Grenoble
Linked With: - PSG
- Bayern Munich
(Ed002 has also made me aware that Liverpool could become interested depending on the right price)
Estimated Market Value: - Around 18 million pounds.
In 1999, Giroud joined Grenoble and spent six years developing in Grenoble's youth academy before signing his first professional contract at the age of 19.
Ahead of the 2005/2006 season, he was promoted to the club's reserve team, which was playing in the Championnat de France amateur 2 (the fifth level of French football). Giroud quickly became an important player in the team scoring 15 goals in 15 matches.
March 2006 - Giroud's performances over seven months with the reserve team resulted in the player being called up to the senior team. Giroud then made his professional debut on 24th March appearing as a late-match substitute in a 1-1 draw with Gueugnon in Ligue 2.
Giroud was promoted to the senior team permanently for the 2006/2007 season. After appearing as a substitute in the team's first league match of the campaign, he made his first professional start in a 2-1 defeat away to Niort playing the entire match.
26th February 2007 - Giroud scored his first professional goal netting the injury time winner against Le Havre. One month later, Giroud made yet another start against Gueugnon, and in the match, Giroud received his first professional red card. He finished the campaign with 18 total appearances and two goals as Grenoble finished in fifth place.
In an attempt to earn some playing time, Giroud spent the 2007/2008 season on loan at Istres in the Championnat National (the third level of football in France).
In his second appearance for the club, Giroud scored his first goal in a 2-1 win over Laval. Two weeks later, Giroud scored goals in back-to-back matches against Vannes and Creteil.
Giroud then scored his first double of the season in a 2-0 win against Arles-Avignon. A fortnight later, Giroud converted two goals again, this time in a 3-2 win over Pau.
After going through a scoring drought over a 2 month period, Giroud returned to form in January scoring all goals in a 3-2 defeat to Vannes and a 2-0 win over Beauvais. He finished the campaign by scoring goals in April league fixtures against Paris and Martigues, which brought his total goal tally with Istres to 14 (10 of them were scored away from home).
After a successful loan period, Giroud returned to Grenoble with hopes of receiving some significant playing time as the club was now playing in Ligue 1. However, club manager Mehmed Bazdarevic (who was hired while Giroud was on his loan stint at Istres), felt that Giroud wasn't needed at the club and decided to list him for transfer.
28th May 2008 - It was reported that Giroud had agreed to a three-year deal with Ligue 2 club Tours.
3rd September 2008 - Giroud made his club debut in a 2-1 defeat to Boulogne in the Coupe de la Ligue. He then made his league debut a week later playing the entire match in a 1-0 win over Nimes.
One month later, Giroud scored his first goal for the club converting the opener in a league match against Lens. In the second half, he scored another goal to cap a 3-1 win. Two weeks later, Giroud scored his third goal for the club in a victory over Ajaccio.
In the Coupe de France, Giroud scored five goals in two matches. In the eighth round of the competition, he scored the team's only goal in a 1-0 win over semi-professional club Pacy Vallee-d'Eure. In the ensuing round against Reunionais club Jeanne d'Arc, Giroud scored four goals in a 7-1 win. However, Tours would later be eliminated in the next round by Lorient.
After his four-goal display against Jeanne d'Arc, Giroud followed up the performance by scoring goals in back-to-back league matches against Montpellier and Metz.
After a double against Nimes on the 20th February 2009, the striker suffered an injury, which forced him to miss three league matches.
3rd April 2009 - After making two substitute appearances on his return, in his first start since the injury against Angers, Giroud scored the team's opening goal in a 3-1 win. Giroud later re-aggravated the previous injury in training, which led to him missing the entire month of April as Tours were contesting a promotion battle with several clubs.
Despite losing Giroud, the club went unbeaten in the four league matches he missed. On his return against Boulogne on the 8th May, Giroud scored his final goal of the season. In Tours' final three league matches of the campaign, the club failed to achieved a win, which resulted in the club failing to earn promotion to Ligue 1. Giroud finished the season with 27 total appearances and 14 goals.
In the 2009/2010 season, Giroud was promoted to the lead striker role. The promotion immediately paid off as Giroud scored two goals in the team's opening match of the season (a 2-1 win over Le Havre in the Coupe de la Ligue).
18th August 2009 - Giroud scored his first league goal against the same opposition in another win.
18th September 2009 - Giroud scored all four of Tours' goals in a 4-2 win over Arles-Avignon. It was his second career four-goal match at the professional level. In the team's next 15 matches in all competitions, Giroud remained on form scoring ten goals. During that span, the striker scored in consecutive matches on three occasions. Giroud finished the fall campaign with 16 goals, 13 of which came in the League.
26th January 2010 - It was reported that Ligue 1 club Montpellier had signed Giroud from Tours on a three and a half year deal. The transfer fee was priced at 2 million Euro's and it was also announced that Montpellier would loan Giroud back to Tours until the end of the 2009/2010 season.
19th February 2010 - Following the transfer, Giroud went three weeks without scoring a goal before converting one in a win over Arles-Avignon. Two weeks later, he scored the team's only goal in a 2-1 defeat to Nantes.
19th March 2010 - Giroud scored two goals in a win against Chateauroux. One week later, he scored in another victory over Strasbourg. After the goal against Strasbourg, Giroud went seven matches without scoring before netting on the final matchday of the season against Nimes. He finished the season with 42 appearances and 24 goals. Giroud scored 21 in the league and was named the league's top goalscorer.
After the season, he was named the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Ligue 2 Player of the Year. Giroud was also named to the League's Team of the Year.
Giroud officially joined Montpellier on 1st July 2010.
29th July 2010 - Giroud made his Club and European debut in the first leg of Montpellier's UEFA Europa League third qualifying round with Hungarian club Gyori ETO. In the match, Giroud scored his first goal for the club immediately impressing (Montpellier won the match courtesy of Giroud's goal, but were defeated on aggregate after losing on penalties in the second leg).
Giroud made his league debut in the team's first match of the campaign; a 1-0 win over Bordeaux.
28th August 2010 - Giroud scored his first league goal in a 1-0 away win against Valenciennes.
25th September 2010 - Giroud scored two goals in a home victory over Arles-Avignon. The double brought his career goal tally to nine against the French club. One week later, he scored Montpellier's lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Lille.
November 2010 - Giroud scored game-winning goals in consecutive weeks against Toulouse and Nice.
In the Coupe de la Ligue, Montpellier surprisingly reached the final of the competition. In the semi-finals against Paris Saint-Germain, Giroud played the entire match, which went into extra time. In the 117th minute, he scored the match-winning goal to send Montpellier to its first major final since the 1993/1994 season, when the club reached the final of the Coupe de France.
In the 2011 Coupe de la Ligue Final, Montpellier faced Marseille and were defeated 1-0 courtesy of a goal by Taye Taiwo (Giroud also played the entire match). Following his goal against Paris Saint-Germain, Giroud went scoreless for nearly two months before converting both club goals against the same opposition in a 2-2 draw (away). Towards the end of the league season, Giroud scored goals against title contenders Marseille and Lyon. However, Montpellier lost both matches.
31st May 2011 - After finishing the season as the club's top scorer, Giroud signed a contract extension with Montpellier until 2014.
Giroud began the 2011-12 campaign on form scoring in the team's first two league matches of the season against Auxerre and the defending champions Lille, and Montpellier won both matches.
In the team's next 18 matches in all competitions, Giroud managed to score 13 goals, living up to his rather prolific reputation. The impressive output consisted of hat-tricks against Dijon and Sochaux, match-winning goals against Nancy, Lyon, and Nice, and a goal each in the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France.
As a result of Giroud's performance and the team as a whole, Montpellier topped the league table in November 2011.
3rd November 2011 - After impressive performances by Giroud for Montpellier, he was named in the squad to play the friendly matches against the United States and Belgium on the 11th and 15th November respectively.
Giroud made his international debut in the match against the United States appearing as a substitute, and France won the match 1-0. Against Belgium, Giroud earned another cap appearing as a substitute as the match ended 0-0.
29 February 2012 - Giroud scored his first career international goal in a 2-1 friendly victory over Germany.
Grenoble - 27 appearances, 2 goals and 0 assists.
Istres - 34 appearances, 14 goals, 0 assists.
Tours - 69 appearances, 38 goals, 10 assists.
Montpellier (as of 27/03/2012) - 76 appearances, 36 goals, 10 assists.
Giroud seems a good striker if I'm honest, but I feel he still has some way to go. He has an absolutely lethal shot and I've seen some real screamers from this guy, and he genuinely knows where the back of the net is. However, in January 2012, the price quoted to the likes of Newcastle and Arsenal who enquired about him was 60 million Euro's. FOR WHAT!?!?! Where on earth do clubs get these valuations from!? That's absolutely ludicrous for a striker who is pretty good. In all seriousness though, I believe he is a good striker who has the potential to succeed in the Premier League, but I think he's much more suited to the French league and Italian league, as from what I've seen of him he would probably take some time to settle here in England, and would cost too much money due to so many clubs being interested in him. Perhaps my opinion of him is unpopular, but for me he's just a good striker doing well in an average league, and it's difficult to determine 'how good he is' right now, as I think he needs to make the move to a bigger club. I'd suggest Malaga are currently winning the race for his signature, and he has the potential to do very well there under the wing of Van Nistelrooy, and playing with the likes of Cazorla etc, so who knows, I could be very wrong and he could turn out to be the next big thing, however, I doubt it. I must say though, although he does go through periods where he scores a lot of goals, he also goes through long periods of not scoring them either, so as a club, you'd be investing in a very inconsistent player, and is that what a top club really wants? What are your thoughts on the player though? Do you think I'm wrong?
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