According to them what knows, we have already signed Lukas Podolski. According to the press Mr Wenger has to sign another centre forward in order to convince Robin van Persie that he must stay. Some speak of Junior Hoilett, but others say Giles Grimandi (a man with considerable influence on matters as the chief scout in France) is watching Olivier Giroud. who plays for Montpellier Hérault SC
He is big, physical and with a lot of heading skill, but Montpellier has only had him for two seasons.
Now a key part in all this is the Montpellier Hérault SC club. The club have never won the league, and their honours list is winning the cup twice (1929 and 1990) and the Intertoto cup in 1999. They also won the precursor of the league cup once.
Now look at the league table
|1||Montpellier Hérault SC||29||18||6||5||53||27||+26||60|
|3||LOSC Lille Métropole||30||15||11||4||55||32||+23||56|
If you know your French league you will know that PSG is the Man City of France, and Lyon were the last giants – but have had many changes. They are managed by Remi Garde, ex of Arsenal.
Our target (seemingly) is the leading scorer in France, with 18 goals.
So the question is will Montpellier, having had their one great season of fame, break up the side? Will they be able to resist a huge offer for their top player who is also France’s vision of the future (he scored his first international goal in France’s 2-1 win over Germany at the end of February).
Montpellier have already had offers – including one from Newcastle U which is reported to have had the response from the club’s owner Louis Nicollin. “Newcastle? They are too small for him.”
Mind you the same guy also said Arsenal would have to pay €50 million – which is the old problem – when Arsenal is on the scene the prices go up, and then of course along comes Man City to pay whatever insane price is left. And when that game starts either Arsenal know the players wants to come, or else it is all a blind because we want someone else.
On the other hand if Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela and Ju-Young Park all move on, we will have some spare space.
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Olivier Giroud spent six years at Grenoble’s youth academy before signing as a pro at 19. He made his professional debut at in 2005/6 and in the following season joined the first team permanently.
He then spent 2007/8 on loan in division 3, but upon returning to Grenoble he was deemed surplus to requirements and joined Tours in Division 2 and ended the season with 27 total appearances and 14 goals.
In the next season he scored 16 goals before the transfer window in January when he moved to Montpellier for €2 million and was then loaned back to Tours until the end of the season. He end the season with 42 appearances and 24 goals and was the top league scorer.
At Montpellier the club reached the League Cup final but lost to Marseille.
Unusually he has not played for any French youth teams before being called up for the French full squad in November last year.
So there you are – quite a late developer, a goal scorer, playing for a small club that is top of the league, with a manager who adds zeros to player prices, just for the hell of it.
But here is one thing I would add. Just take a look at the last five matches… Thi is not the amazing style of a club pounding for the title. It might well be that the pressure is too much for Montpellier, and the club and player may both agree that it is time to take the money and run.
|Montpellier Hérault SC||1 – 0||AS Saint-Etienne|
|Gazelec Ajaccio||1 – 0||Montpellier Hérault SC|
|AS Nancy Lorraine||1 – 0||Montpellier Hérault SC|
|Montpellier Hérault SC||3 – 0||SM Caen|
|Dijon FCO||1 – 1||Montpellier Hérault SC|