Emirates Stadium boss plots move to capture Montpellier double act.
Arsenal targets Giroud and Belhanda available for right price, says owner
Arsenal have been joined by a whole host of European outfits in scouting the star duo in recent months, with France international Giroud initially under consideration, before exciting winger Balhanda also caught the eye following a breakthrough season at the Stade de la Mosson.
The pair are rated at around £10million each, having helped fire Montpellier to the top of the Ligue 1 table, where they are currently three points clear of Paris Saint-Germain.
But speculation has been rife for months that they will be part of a summer bidding war – aimed at driving up their prices.
As Metro revealed last month, outspoken Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin has always denied he intends to sell his best players.
However, he appears to have backtracked by saying Giroud and Belhanda could go if interested parties stump up the cash.
‘If we’re offered a lot of money, Giroud and Belhanda will certainly go,’ Nicollin told RMC.
A move to sign this Montpellier would indeed be a very ‘Wenger-style’ move as the Frenchman has become adept at picking up players who are not household names and turning them into big name stars and there is no doubting that both Olivier Giroud and Younes Belhanda have the potential to grow as players and may feel that in order to do so they must leave a side that appears to be punching well above their weight at present.
Giroud has been in excellent form this term, netting 19 goals and forcing his way into Laurent Blanc’s national team set-up, scoring in his first start for France away in Germany. The towering forward may well further increase his value at the Euro 2012 finals and therefore the North London club may want to register their interest before his valuation increases.
Belhanda is a talented youngster who can play in either an advanced central midfield role or in his more accustomed position out wide. The 22 year old Moroccan international is in his third season as a regular in the Montpellier first team and has supplied goals and assists aplenty this term.
Arsene Wenger will surely feel the need to add to his squad this summer, especially up front where Robin Van Persie has been too heavily relied upon and Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh have failed to impress and Giroud’s physical presence would lend itself well to life in the English top tier and Belhanda’s tricks and turns could add a more direct approach to the final third.
The fact that Montpellier’s owner has publicly spoken of his willingness to cash in on the duo will surely act as an impetus for Arsenal, or any other interest parties, to make an offer this summer.