Monday, 11th June, 2012

Arsenal have stepped up their interest in Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud and could send Marouane Chamakh the other way, according to French radio station RMC.

The Gunners are known to have had the 25-year-old watched last season as he tore apart Ligue 1 defences and led his side to the title, beating Paris Saint-Germain to the trophy.

Giroud’s heroics, 21 goals scored in 36 Ligue 1 games, have attracted attention from clubs across Europe with Bayern Munich, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Valencia all checking on his talents. And of late Atletico Madrid, Malaga and Queens Park Rangers have also been linked with bids.

Montpellier have been realistic over their chances of keeping hold of Giroud for next season, especially if the former Tours man shines further at Euro 2012 this summer.

Indeed, club president Louis Nicollin has identified Giroud, along with defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, as potential departures from the Stade de la Mosson.

Now it is believed that Arsenal intend to open lines of communication with Montpellier over Giroud in the next few days, as the Gunners seek to take the hitman to the Emirates Stadium.

Giroud would jump at the chance to join Arsene Wenger’s men, while Montpellier could secure compensation of sorts by snapping up out-of-favour striker Marouane Chamakh on loan as part of the deal.

Chamakh has struggled to make an impression at Arsenal since signing for the English side from Bordeaux in 2010.

His stock however remains high in France where he is a noted goalscorer, and his involvement in any transfer would further tempt Montpellier.

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