Arsene Wenger: ‘Olivier Giroud chose to stay at Arsenal despite exit offer’
Arsene Wenger has revealed that he gave Olivier Giroud the chance to leave Arsenal “at one stage”, but the forward chose to stay put at the Emirates Stadium.
The France international came off the bench to score the winner in the Gunners’ 4-3 victory over Leicester City in the 2017-18 Premier League opener in North London.
Giroud only made the starting XI 11 times in the league last season, prompting rumours of the player pining for a move away in a bid to find first-team football.
Speaking after the seven-goal thriller at the Emirates, Wenger told Sky Sports News: “I love the man and the player. He’s a fantastic guy and he’s committed.
“He doesn’t want to leave and I’m happy he wants to stay. At one stage I opened the door for him as I knew I had many strikers, and in the end he decided to stay.”
Giroud has been at Arsenal since 2012, and in that time has scored 99 goals for the club.
Coutinho family speaks out
A “close family member” of Liverpool maestro Philippe Coutinho has appeared to confirm reports that he handed the transfer request yesterday.
Earlier today, Reds owners Fenway Sports Group took the rare step of issuing a statement about the club’s transfer policy, insisting that “no offers for Philippe will be considered” this summer.
The club have already turned down two approaches for the Brazilian from cash-rich Barcelona, who are in the market for a fast replacement for Neymar, including a most recent offer of £90m plus add-ons.
With Liverpool’s stance clear and rumours of a new bid of more than £100m coming, Coutinho has reportedly submitted a formal transfer request in an attempt to push the move through.
Responding to the story, an unnamed family member told Sky Sports News: “Philippe has tried very hard to find an amicable solution to this situation but to no avail.’’
“He has tremendous love for the club and its fans, but like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have pointed out in the past, Liverpool does not let its players leave on amicable terms.”
Coutinho will miss Liverpool’s season opener at Watford this weekend and is a doubt for next week’s Champions League playoff with Hoffenheim due to a back injury.
Xavi names the player Barça must ‘take a risk’ to sign as Neymar’s replacement.
Neymar’s €222 million move to Paris Saint-Germain has left Barcelona with a void to fill and money to spend.
Barça have wasted no time in trying to find Neymar’s replacement. Their interest in signing Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been well documented, and their hopes of signing the 25-year-old were boosted on Friday when he handed in a transfer request.
Coutinho isn’t the only player on Barcelona’s radar, with Borussia Dortmund publicly rejecting Barcelona’s offer for highly-rated Frenchman Ousmane Dembele this week.
One man who endorses Dembele to Barcelona is Xavi, who believes his former club must “take a risk” on the 20-year-old.
Xavi, who won eight La Liga titles with Barcelona, believes Dembele’s inexperience presents a slight concern but he has the quality to become a star.
“Versatile player, with a lot of physical and technical qualities, and very fast in addition,” Xavi told Eurosport.