Contracted to Chelsea until the end of 2019 after his January switch from Arsenal, Olivier Giroud ended the season strongly with the Blues, which allayed any fears he may have had about his spot in France’s World Cup squad.
Expected to be one of the first names on Didier Deschamps’ squad list for the international competition in Russia, the 31-year-old will be raring to go as his country enter the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the trophy in July.
However, had he stayed at Arsenal, where he was barely playing under Arsène Wenger, this might not have been the case.
Switching London clubs right at the end of the winter transfer window, Giroud explained to SFR Sport what went through his head during that particular day when it was announced he would be wearing blue instead of red and white.
He said: “It was very stressful, very complicated because I had a lot of things to sort out privately, with my family, but also this transfer that lasted a while, so it was decided at the last moment on the last day. A rather complicated period. On top of everything I was injured, so I was very happy about how it unfolded, as well as relieved”.
As he’s previously revealed, Antonio Conte played a huge part in his decision to move to Chelsea, thanks to a phone call they had ahead of the transfer
He continued: “For me, it’s key to talk with the manager before signing at a club, so I had him on the phone, and he told me my profile interested him. The image you get of him from outside the club is the same as the man you get. He’s passionate, he lives games like he’s still on the pitch.”
A recurring comment from players who have featured under the Italian is how tactically astute he is, and Giroud was no different.
He said: “He’s very rigorous tactic wise, in the study of opponents. We do a lot of tactical work, he doesn’t leave anything to chance. It’s something I didn’t know, that I discovered. I learnt to spend time in front of a screen watching videos. We know what to do with or without the ball. Everything is very precise”
So, does this mean Arsenal didn’t have video sessions under Arsène Wenger?
If that’s the case, that’s most likely about to change, especially if a certain Mikel Arteta, who has spent the past couple of seasons learning from Pep Guardiola, takes over at the Emirates.