Can Arsenal afford to compete for Ligue 1’s top-scorer?

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Of all the unlikely headlines in world football, ‘Arsenal prepare bid for £50m forward’ has to be up there with ‘Lionel Messi set for £10m Stoke City move’ or ‘Maroaune Chamakh: hat-trick hero’. There’s about as much chance of the Gunner’s dropping £50m on one player as there is of Roman Abramovich granting the next Chelsea manager ample time to prove himself.  Yet the Daily Mail claim that Arsene Wenger is in the market for Montpellier’s highly rated French forward Olivier Giroud.

Apparently Wenger has instructed the Gunner’s chief French scout Gilles Grimandi to keep a steady watch on the 25-year-old forward with a view to a possible move in the summer. Grimandi will assess his worth and report back to Arsenal at the end of his season with his advice.

Whilst it’s not difficult to believe that Wenger would want to keep tabs on one of French football’s finest talents, it’s more likely that the Arsenal boss will have been turned off by Giroud’s exorbitant price-tag.

When Newcastle were reported to be interested in Giroud last January, Montpellier’s owner Louis Nicollin acted angrily: “Newcastle? They are too small for him,” when questioned about the Gunner’s interest he replied: “Arsenal? You would have to see if Arsène Wenger is interested but, as before, there is Van Persie. And at €10 million [£8.3 million]? No. Given that he still has more than two years of contract, it will cost more.

“He has a contract until 2014, so €50 million [£42 million] or €60?million [£50 million] at least.”

Now that’s clearly an absolutely ludicrous evaluation. Yes he’s done well this season and is currently Ligue 1’s top scorer with 18 goals earning a call-up to the French National side, but when you consider Cesc Fabregas left Arsenal for £35m last summer and Lukas Podolski will cost Arsenal under £12m (despite having a similar scoring record in what’s arguably a better League) that evaluation doesn’t seem to make any sense.

As to whether Giroud could do a job for Arsenal, I can’t help but feel he would be a great addition. At 6ft 3 inches tall and almost 14 stone he’d offer something completely different from the likes of Robin Van Persie and Lukas Podolski. He’s got real physical presence, tenacity and is strong in the air. This in combination with his nous for grabbing goals could help to offer the Gunners the ‘Plan B’ that they’ve always lacked.

The player himself has previously admitted that he ‘loves the French feel at Arsenal’ so there’s every chance that he’d be willing to make a move to North London.

Whether or not Wenger makes a move for him in the summer is surely dependent on whether the Gunners can get Montpellier to budge on his price-tag. Very few footballers are worth £50m, but at around £25m, he could be a very astute signing.

What’s your take? Do you think he would make a good acquisition for Arsenal? Is he worth his price-tag?

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