Could Olivier ‘scorpion kick’ Giroud leave Arsenal in January?
Olivier Giroud came off the bench in Arsenal's 3-1 defeat to Manchester City last Sunday and the striker racked up only 12 minutes at the Etihad Stadium.
The French international could have left the Gunners in summer after falling down the pecking order. He now finds himself even more on the periphery.
With 2018 World Cup around the corner, Giroud has a place in the France national team to defend. Could that make him decide to leave Arsenal in January?
Lack of playing time a big issue
Despite losing his starting place in attack to Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck last season, Giroud still managed an impressive 12 goals in 29 league games (11 starts). The 31-year-old contributed 23 goals in all competitions during 2016/17, and he also had the best scoring record off the bench among all Premier League players.
With Sanchez expected to leave next summer and Welbeck's poor scoring record unlikely to see him start regularly up front, Giroud will fancy chances of reclaiming his spot in the side. He turned down Everton to fight for first-team football at Arsenal, but Alexandre Lacazette's arrival, coupled with Alexis staying at the club, saw Giroud's hopes scuppered.
Since Lacazette signed for the Gunners, Giroud hasn't started a Premier League game, having to make do with Europa League and Carabao Cup outings instead. This season, the former Montpellier forward has made 17 appearances in all competitions (six starts). He may reconsider his future if things fail to change.
World Cup aspirations could factor
The World Cup in Russia is seven months away. Giroud hasn't just lost his club place to Lacazette, he's also fell behind the former Lyon striker in France's pecking order - albeit briefly.
Giroud was previously one of Didier Deschamps' favourites, but it will be difficult to take Lacazette's role if he's not featuring regularly for the Gunners. Whoever wins the striking battle at Arsenal this season could become France's main frontman.
Giroud will be 35 when 2022 World Cup comes around. Therefore, next summer's tournament may be his last on the international stage. Les Bleus can go deep into the competition in Russia too, so he will be determined to feature. Although Giroud faces stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, the Arsenal striker's on-pitch relationship with Antoine Griezmann keeps him in the reckoning.
If the offer is right, Arsenal could sell
Giroud admitted he could have for Everton in summer, with reports suggesting the Gunners had green-lighted the transfer. Arsene Wenger had initially planned to retain the services of Lucas Perez, allowing Giroud to leave, but the Spaniard has since been loaned out and may not return when the deal expires.
If that proves the case, Arsenal will need Giroud to stick around. The player could dictate his own future, though, given his service to the club - contributing 142 goals in 244 games in all competitions.
The Toffees weren't the only side to show an interest in summer as Olympique Marseille, West Ham and Olympique Lyonnais were also keen on the striker. If those clubs maintain their interest in January, don't be surprised if Olivier Giroud makes a move.