Giroud reveals Chelsea interest
Striker admits French influence was behind Emirates switch
By Patrick Haond. Last Updated: June 27, 2012 10:23am
Olivier Giroud: Has revealed he snubbed Chelsea in favour of a move to Arsenal
New Arsenal signing Olivier Giroud has revealed Chelsea were also interested in signing him but the influence of Arsene Wenger and the rest of Gunners' French contingent persuaded him to snub the Blues.
The 25-year-old, who has just returned from international duty with France at Euro 2012, passed a medical and agreed personal terms with the Gunners on Monday.
The striker was in demand after hitting 21 goals for Montpellier last season, helping them to lift the Ligue 1 title for the first time in their history.
Upon sealing his move to the Emirates the former Grenoble youngster also revealed London rivals Chelsea were keen on signing him.
However, Giroud admits he chose Arsenal because they showed a greater desire in their attempts to sign him.
He also feels the presence of several of his countrymen, including boss Arsene Wenger and former team-mate Laurent Koscielny, will help him adapt quicker to the rigours of English football.
"Why did I choose Arsenal rather than Chelsea? Because it is a club I love. And I thought it would be easier for my adaptation [to English football]," he told L'Equipe.
"Arsenal is a great club, the facilities are wonderful, but I feel it is a club that takes big care before signing a player, notably considering human values.
"There are French players. There is also Arsene Wenger who let me understand he really wanted me.
"Laurent Koscielny talked to me a lot about the club and sang the praises of Arsenal. It is really great to meet him again after sharing moments together in Ligue 2 at Tours.
"Chelsea is very nice, it is a great club, but I am not convinced Di Matteo knows who I am."
Giroud also admitted the prospect of playing alongside Robin van Persie was a key factor in his decision to move to North London.
The Dutchman has just a year left on his contract at Arsenal and there has been intense speculation about his future all summer.
However, Giroud believes he has been signed to play alongside the 28-year-old, not replace him.
"When you make the decision to join a great club, you know there is already a great forward. I know what to expect," he added.
"Van Persie is a fantastic player who was outstanding last season. He has been at Arsenal for eight years, I hope I will have time to adapt and improve.
"Anyway, I don't go there to take his place."