For several years, Olivier Giroud has been Arsenal’s go-to striker. Like Arsene Wenger, Giroud’s presence at the club has proven a divisive issue among fans. Whilst the Frenchman has consistently hit double figures, a dry spell in 2015/16 cast fresh doubt on his credentials, as the wait for league glory continues into a fourteenth year.
From humble beginnings at Tours, Giroud’s big break would come at Montpellier. His time at Montpellier coincided with the club’s only Ligue 1 title to date. What many don’t realise is how close he came to going north of the border before joining Arsenal. Today, we look at the history that never was…
1st July 2010 – Olivier Giroud joins Celtic
A young striker who was plying his trade well at French club Tours, Giroud ticked all the boxes. For five years, he delivered on the promise shown, winning title after title in Scotland.
5th January 2015
Eventually, Giroud grew bored of the endless title wins and stunted European adventures. Craving a new type of challenge, Giroud transferred to Leicester City. The Foxes lay rock bottom of the league, and needed a striker with a battling mentality and lightning speed.
Sadly, Giroud’s time at Celtic had lowered his stock on the wider scale. The Premier League was a step too far, and he struggled for form. Consequently, he could not prevent Leicester from going down in May 2015.
1st July 2015
Not wishing to waste away in the Championship, Giroud was one of the first men to jump ship from Leicester. A substantial bid from Paris Saint Germain came as a surprise, and it was an opportunity that neither Giroud (nor relegated Leicester) could miss.
Memorably, one Leicester fan received a lot of abuse online, after saying:
“If only we’d stayed up, I think we were just three or four new players away from being title contenders next season!”
Leicester’s relegation also prompted the ever-influential talent spotter Steve Walsh to leave the club and join Newcastle. As a key part of the Magpies’ operations, he brought Jamie Vardy, N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez to St James’ Park.
Powered by Vardy et al, Newcastle demolished Tottenham 5-1 on the final day of the Premier League season, and lifted the Premier League trophy after being rank outsiders.
Meanwhile, Giroud was living the dream at an unstoppable PSG, and in the form of his life ahead of Euro 2016.
Giroud proved unplayable throughout Euro 2016, and scored a hat-trick against Portugal in the final. In the process, he became a national hero and the talk of generations to come.
So, Giroud wasn’t much of a success after moving to the Premier League from the SPL, much like this lot!