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France international Olivier Giroud was a popular figure at North London, but the club decided to offload him to Premier League Champions Chelsea because the forward wanted regular first-team football before the FIFA World Cup, says manager Arsene Wenger.
The 31-year-old, joined Chelsea in a £18million deal on the deadline day of the winter window, the same day the Gunners completed the signing of Gabon star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The France international striker scored a total of 105 goals in 253 matches after signing from Montpellier back in June 2012.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said the North London club owe the FIFA Puskas award winner a whole lot.
“It [Giroud’s move] was linked with the [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang transfer deal and the Frenchman’s wife has just given birth to a third child so it was tough on the striker’s family for the France striker him to leave the City of London. It was hard to reject Chelsea’s offer because they are an opponent [direct rival],” he added.
The French tactician also said Gabon international striker Aubameyang – who the North London club bought from German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund for about £56million – is a major doubt for Saturday’s League match at home to Everton.
Wenger said the winter signing has been sick and that his fitness level will be assessed before kick-off.