With the World Cup rapidly approaching, Olivier Giroud may find himself on the outside looking in of France’s squad, according to Guy Stephan, France’s assistant coach.
Stephan issued a public warning to Giroud via French media outlet TF1 that the striker’s playing time is “insufficient,” adding that “he has to find a solution in the coming weeks,” a.k.a, the January transfer window.
It’s hard to disagree with Stephan about Giroud’s lack of game action; the striker has made even starts this season, but zero of those have come in the Premier League.
More interestingly, however, is whether Giroud would consider leaving next month for a starting role somewhere else. Rumors of a possible departure from Arsenal swirled this past summer, especially after the signing of Alexandre Lacazette, who, for the time being at least, is still behind Giroud on the French depth chart up front. Giroud turned down advances from Marseille, Everton, and West Ham United to stay with Arsenal, a decision he still appeared content with less than a month ago.
While I wouldn’t rule it out, I think it’s unlikely Giroud leaves in January, even though Lacazette has been excellent and shouldn’t be coming out of the starting lineup anytime soon. There’s a lot of games left in the season, and injuries could strike at any moment. Just look at this past week. Lacazette came off at half-time against Huddersfield with a groin injury, and Giroud came on and scored twice. If Lacazette hadn’t recovered in time for the match against Manchester United, Giroud may have gotten the start up top. There’s still also the prospect of long runs in the Europa League and the domestic cups. Additionally, Arsene Wenger is clearly a huge fan of Giroud both as a player and as a person, and wouldn’t let him go easily. Losing Giroud in the middle of the season would be a big blow to Arsenal’s attacking depth, so while this is certainly a rumor to keep an eye on, hopefully we don’t see it become reality.