Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud was closed to leaving the club during the summer transfer window.
Speculation was rife about Giroud impending departure, with clubs like Inter Milan and Everton linked to the Arsenal forward, he eventually stayed at Arsenal and scored his 99th Arsenal career goal on the opening day of the season against Leicester.
Giroud has seen his chances limited by the arrival of Alexander Lacazette but scored his 100th goal for Arsenal on Thursday against Bate Borisov from the spot to give Arsenal a 4-2 away victory in the Europa League.
His 100th Arsenal career goal came in the same week as his 31st birthday.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has now revealed how the Toffees came close to signing the player in the summer.
Everton was in the market to buy a replacement for their former striker, Romelu Lukaku who moved to Manchester United in a £75m deal and Koeman identified Giroud as the player he wants for that void left by Lukaku’s departure.
The 54-year-old is quoted by The Express as saying:
“When we sold Lukaku, I didn’t think at that time we would get a striker in who would score at least 25 goals because maybe it is impossible to find that striker. What I expected was to get more goals from other players around the striker.
That was the reason we needed a target man because that gives options for the team and finally we did not find a good target. We thought we had Olivier Giroud and that didn’t happen.”
DIDIER DESCHAMPS WARNS GIROUD OF HIS PLACE IN THE NATIONAL TEAM:
Meanwhile, Didier Deschamps, the French National Team manager has warned Olivier Giroud that his decision to stay at Arsenal and play a bit part role may affect his chances in the manager’s thinking when he picks his squad for the World Cup next year.
Deschamps’s intervention may influence Giroud’s decision to move in January if his chances continued to be limited at Arsenal.
Giroud has fallen down the pecking order with Arsenal £52m summer signing Alexander Lacazette preferred to lead Arsenal attack.