The fallout from our inactivity on deadline day seems to have spilled over into the international break with many still in disbelief regarding our lack of movement for an incoming striker.
Danny Welbeck’s injury, fuelled by Roy Hodgson’s revelation that the forward may be out until March (via The Guardian), has also added to the anxiety among Arsenal fans.
As many would’ve predicted, it seems as though the knives are out for Olivier Giroud and the Frenchman will be used as a scapegoat at every conceivable opportunity.
Those detractors, who are in the majority, will point to instances like the guilt-edge chance Giroud missed for France this week as evidence for their negativity towards our striker.
Arsenal fans love a scapegoat, we can never really accept that we have a squad without a player for whom there is a collective sigh at the Emirates whenever they make an error.
- Vote: Who do you want Arsenal to draw in the Europa League?
- [Team news] Arsenal line up vs Benfica – Odegaard out and Partey fit
- Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s bid to takeover Arsenal ‘edging closer’
However, unlike in previous cases when fans have been at each other’s throats regarding certain players, many are in agreement regarding Giroud. The problem is, it seems like we’re speaking a different language to each other at times.
Giroud was signed in 2012 for £12m (via BBC Sport) with our star forward Robin van Persie already at the club having bagged 37 goals in the previous campaign.
At the time, it was reported that we were fighting against the likes of Queens Park Rangers for his services (via the Daily Mail), a sign of things to come.
When he initially arrived, we expected the Frenchman to provide decent cover for Van Persie given that we were heavily reliant on the Dutchman the previous year. Having won Ligue 1 with Montpellier while netting 21 goals in the process, Giroud seemed like the man for the job.
Arsenal news & rumours
Not for a second did fans perceive the 29-year-old as our first choice striker and the man to bring the Premier League title back to north London. In fact, Giroud himself seemed like he was in a hurry to tell any outlet that would listen that he wasn’t fit to replace Van Persie.
“I am not here to replace Van Persie or to make people forget him,” Giroud was quoted as saying upon his arrival (via Sky Sports).
“I don’t have the pretension of saying I will replace him because I have every respect for him as he had an enormous season last year.”
However, due to Wenger’s negligence, coupled with the added pressures in the market, Giroud has been tasked to do exactly that.
For £12m, Giroud has definitely been a success for us and has almost performed beyond his capabilities at times. Scoring 59 times in 139 appearances is a respectable tally for a player who came with that price-tag.
The frustration from fans may come from their inability to grasp the fact that Giroud came for that price in the modern market due to his limitations.
£12m strikers do not win you Premier League titles in modern football. They do not score 30 goals in all competitions and compete for the golden boot. They won’t be able to finish the half-chance which may be presented to them in a tactically-driven Champions League encounter.
£12m strikers do what Giroud does. He scores the downright outrageous but misses the simplest of chances. When we’ve needed him most, he has been incapable of producing the goods. And when the pressure mounts, he folds.
To make it clear, this is in no way a Giroud-bashing article. Rather, it’s an acceptance of what his qualities are and a realisation that he’s delivered exactly what has been expected of him.
Sadly, it’s not what Arsenal fans as a whole expect from a first choice striker at our club, especially given the number of examples we’ve witnessed grace the Premier League for us.
Giroud may continue to infuriate those who are unable to comprehend the simple concept that, in football, you invariably get what you pay for.
We have a £12m striker producing £12m performances. Any anger directed towards the former Montpellier star should be directed towards the man who’s convinced that Giroud can lead us to Premier League glory.
Follow Mohamuud Jama on Twitter – @Jama_93