May 20 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, January 25, 2013
Olivier Giroud has been likened to Arsenal legend Alan Smith by manager Arsene Wenger who believes there is more to come from his compatriot.
The striker was signed in the summer from Ligue 1 champions Montpellier, for a fee in the region of £9million.
He was the French top flight’s leading scorer last term but struggled in his early Gunners games, not helped by the void left by Robin van Persie’s departure to Manchester United, and he took seven Premier League appearances before hitting the net in a 3-1 win against West Ham United at Upton Park.
The 26-year-old was on target again in midweek, firing a double, coincidentally against the Hammers again, in a 5-1 rout.
Asked who he could compare the forward to, Wenger said: “Maybe Alan Smith, a little bit.
“He can develop into this kind of player.”
The former Gunner-turned football pundit, nicknamed Smudger, struck 86 times for the club in eight years, averaging just over 10 goals a season.
Giroud has scored 11 times for the north Londoners this term already and Wenger believes that he is now starting to show why he brought him to England.
“I believe our fans like Olivier Giroud because he’s a guy that’s developing very well,” the manager said.
“He fights for the team, has great qualities, a positive charisma and I’m convinced there’s a lot more to come for Olivier and that he will convince our fans that he’s the striker they look for.
“It always takes time [for a player to adapt to the Premier League] but he has scored 11 goals and has many assists.
“He is strong in the air offensively and defensively so, overall, I think he has important qualities for the team.”