London: New Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has denied he has been signed as a replacement for Robin van Persie.
Talking to French newspaper L’Equipe on Wednesday, Giroud, who arrived at the Emirates from Montpellier on Monday, was keen to dampen media speculation the Dutchman is now set to leave Arsenal.
“When you make the decision to join a great club, you know there is already a great forward,” he said. “I know what to expect.
“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.”
Giroud added he had been close to signing for Arsenal’s rivals Chelsea, explaining that the Gunners’ French connection was a major factor in his decision to head to north, rather than west, London.
“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.
“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.
“Chelsea is very nice, it is a great club, but I am not convinced [coach Roberto] Di Matteo knows who I am.”