Arsene Wenger believes that Olivier Giroud has the ability to emulate the impact of former Arsenal striker Alan Smith (seen above casually lounging in a field like a character from Brideshead Revisited) and highlighted the Frenchman’s statistics as proof that his summer signing is settling well at the Emirates.
Speaking two days after his compatriot bagged a brace against West Ham to take his scoring tally to 11 for the season, Wenger spoke positively about the relationship the former Montpellier man has developed with Gunners supporters.
“Our fans like Olivier Giroud, because he is a guy who is developing very well.
“First of all he fights for the team, he has great qualities and charisma. I am convinced there is a lot more to come from Olivier and that he can convince our fans he is the striker they look for.”
Without being prompted, the boss also referenced Smith, spearhead of the George Graham title-winning sides of 1989 and 1991 and scorer of the winner in the 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup final against Parma, as a player to whom Giroud might be compared.
“[He is] maybe like Alan Smith, a little bit – he can develop into this kind of player.
“It always takes time, but he has scored 11 goals and has many assists. He is strong in the air, defensively and offensively, and overall he has important qualities for the team.”
On his day Smith, as many fans will fondly recall, was a serious handful for opponents; both adept in the air and with a craftiness of foot he scored 115 times during eight years at Highbury before a knee problem saw him phased out in favour of Ian Wright.
Replete with all the qualities of a typical English no.9 and an understated panache which saw him score some cracking goals ‘Smudger’ was voted Arsenal’s 27th greatest ever player in a 2008 poll on Arsenal.com.
Arseblog News suspects if you offered such ‘gloire’ to Giroud, he’d snap your hand off right now.
We also suspect that if we offered Alan a chance to swap bodies with Giroud just for a day he’d likewise be pleased as punch…