Giroud to light up the Premier League next season
Life must be pretty sweet for Olivier Giroud right now. Off the back of a successful World Cup campaign with France, where he scored the opening goal in the 5-2 win against neighbours Switzerland, the striker can look forward to a new Premier League campaign at Arsenal.
In his second season with the Gunners in England, he netted 22 times in 51 appearances, also contributing 12 assists. Giroud is going from strength to strength. At 20/1 to be Premier League top scorer next term, there could well be hidden value in an each way bet, with Coral paying out on four places.
Tattooed on his right arm are the latin words “Dominus regit me et nitil mihi deerit”, in testament to the player’s affinities with Christianity. It translates to “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”, and is Psalm number 23 from the bible.
Although he follows God, Giroud is starting to prove that he is a leader of men on a football field. It was a tough task to shoulder the responsibility of scoring goals last term, as Arsenal’s only recognised and senior first-team striker, yet his maturity shone, perhaps resonating from humble beginnings.
Born in Chambery, in the Rhone-Alpes region of France, he spent most of his early life in the nearby centre of Grenoble, joining the football club, aged 13. Central to the town’s thriving tourism scene are its museums, not least the Musee de Grenoble (Museum of Grenoble), which houses the artwork of a host of prestigious names from Claude Monet to Pablo Picasso. Giroud arrived at the football club as a blank canvass and by the time he joined Montpellier, via Tours, at the age of 23, his progress resembled that of a promising paint by numbers piece.
During his time at Montpellier, he helped the club to a French league cup final in 2011/12, which they lost to Marseille in extra time. His exploits in the semi-final against PSG raised his profile further, as he notched a 117th minute winner. Montpellier hadn’t finished, and neither had Giroud. Together they won Ligue 1 for the first time in their history. Ending on 21 goals and 9 assists the club’s leading man collected the top scorer award. Although he tied with PSG’s Nene, it was deemed Giroud had notched more times in open play.
While in France, he earned the affectionate nickname ‘Le buteur de charme’, otherwise known as ‘the charm striker’, which paid tribute to his goal-scoring ability, personality and looks. Arsene Wenger had seen enough in him to take a reported £9.6m punt, and neither have looked back. A supporting cast this season of Theo Walcott (when fully fit), Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and World Cup winners Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski will only increase his scoring opportunities. Throw new signing Alexis Sanchez into the mix, and it takes on a whole new dimension.
Although not quite yet a masterpiece, Giroud has brushed some broad strokes in the Premier League. A record-breaking campaign next season may just see a portrait of the striker to be commissioned by the Museum of Grenoble, as Wenger seeks to complete the picture.