Paper Round: Olivier Giroud joins race to leave Arsenal's sinking ship
Olivier Giroud wants out of Arsenal and Jurgen Klopp has said he hopes Liverpool favourite Steven Gerrard will one day replace him as the club's head coach, as their top-four decider looms on Sunday. It's Friday's Paper Round.
Giroud plans tactical move to avoid World Cup benching?
The Daily Mirror reports that Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud may be yet another member of the squad to leave the oft-referred-to "sinking ship" this summer in order to keep his place in France’s international squad at the next World Cup. With Alexis Sanchez expected to walk Atom and Humber out of the Emirates this summer, and Mesut Ozil’s contract negotiations also unresolved, manager Arsene Wenger is expected to shake up the club’s striking power this summer, which in turn could threaten 30-year-old Giroud’s future in the starting XI. With Marseille steadying themselves for a crack at the Ligue One title next season, they would apparently part with a considerable wedge of £20million for Giroud.
Olivier Giroud (FC Arsenal vs. Manchester City)Getty Images
Paper Round’s view: Hang on, so Arsenal could lose top-scorer Sanchez, and this would be bad for Giroud, this season’s third highest scorer for the club after Theo Walcott? With Giroud’s name attached to various deals earlier this year – as in Arsenal were reportedly ready to offer him up as part of deals to bring new players in – it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he went this summer. Regardless, don’t Arsenal have bigger fish to fry right now?
Klopp paving the way for Gerrard takeover
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp has spoken to The Times ahead of his team’s all-important top-four decider at the season’s close on Sunday. In an exclusive interview with the paper, Klopp reveals that he hopes Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard – currently the under-18 coach at the club – will take over from him as head coach when the time comes for him to move on.
Speaking of Gerrard, Klopp gushed:
" It’s perfect that we can involve Steven. What a guy, he’s fantastic. I told him when I leave, or the club sack me, I don’t care of course who’ll be my successor, but I’d love that he’d be it."
Paper Round’s view: Call us cynical, but we can’t help but wonder if Klopp has been a little canny, here. Having missed out on a place in the Champions League last season, it’s fair to say it’ll be a massive disappointment if the club – currently fourth – lose out at the 11th hour should fifth-place Arsenal have a favourable result on Sunday. Klopp is a likeable character and a popular manager, but football is fickle and this could yet change. Dangling a legend of the likes of Gerrard, as yet not experienced enough to usurp him, in front of the fans is sure to be a vote-winning gesture, should he find he needs it.
Chelsea plot Aubameyang swoop...
In what could be a busy transfer window for title winners Chelsea, the West Londoners are apparently plotting a move for Borussia Dortmund player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. With Diego Costa looking like he was ready to walk back in January, and with his future still uncertain, manager Antonio Conte will look to bring in additional fire-power over the summer, it is reported. Talks between the 27-year-old and the club could start in a matter of days, reports The Star.
...While talks with Hazard continue amid Real interest
But Diego Costa isn’t the club’s only concern, with Eden Hazard reportedly having caught the eye of Liga giants, Real Madrid. Reports by The Evening Standard suggest Real are ready to break Paul Pogba’s record fee this summer with the first ever £100million signing, but Chelsea will not give up the Belgium international without a fight, and are said to be ready to offer him a massive £300,000-per-week salary if he stays on. Hazard has even greater value to Chelsea if they are to make a move for his compatriot, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is expected to make changes following his success at the club this seasonGetty Images
Paper Round’s view: Aubameyang has netted an impressive 117 goals during his time at Dortmund, making him an attractive signing for any club, and Chelsea will be in need of back up if Costa, who has brought the lion’s share of the club’s goals this season, moves on. If Hazard also leaves Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid, the club with whom he has frequently been linked, the quest for new talent will become all the more urgent, with the duo having brought in 37 goals between them this season. That said, we’re not convinced a move to Madrid would work in Hazard’s favour, with considerably more competition for a place in the starting XI. Would Aubameyang prefer Manchester United, who will also be on the lookout for a striker this season? Ask us again after the Europa League final next week…