Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has insisted that he wants Olivier Giroud to commit his future to the club, but has acknowledged Alexis Sanchez will make life difficult for him.
It’s been a troubled season for Giroud so far, as the Frenchman returned late at the start of the campaign due to his Euro 2016 commitments before picking up an injury shortly after his comeback.
In that time on the sidelines, Sanchez settled into his role as the main striker, and has now scored 13 goals while adding 10 assists in 20 appearances in all competitions.
To his credit, Giroud has remained committed and professional and has scored key goals off the bench in games against Sunderland and Manchester United, but naturally he’ll want a more prominent role.
Wenger has reiterated that he wants to see his compatriot sign an extension, but ultimately he conceded that he’ll have to accept that Sanchez has stepped up and delivered after there were initial reservations about his ability to lead the line for the Gunners.
“I want Giroud to stay, I want Giroud to extend his contract,” Wenger said, as reported by ESPN FC. “After, he has to live with the competition, and for me he is a very important player at the club, on the pitch and off the pitch. I want him to stay, he has to decide if he can live with what is going on but personally I like Giroud very much.
“You see the guy who plays wide and can score goals, [and think] that he can in the centre score even more goals. I always saw [that potential] in Sanchez and I must honestly say I thought many times when I played him last year or two years ago I was wrong.
“He took advantage of the fact Giroud was not here and not ready, so I could give him more games.”
While Sanchez’s influence at this moment in time is difficult to ignore and makes him the starting striker, Giroud will have a crucial role to play for Arsenal moving forward.
Depending on the opposition and what the situation dictates, a player with his characteristics will be needed for the Gunners, but whether or not he’s content with that remains to be seen with Wenger also benefiting from having depth with the likes of Lucas Perez and Danny Welbeck as options too.