Arsenal have tabled a cash-plus-player offer for Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud, according to the Daily Mirror. The Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger is a big admirer of Giroud, who is coming off his best ever season in top flight, with 21 goals in 36 appearances and a major role in his club's first ever Ligue1 title.
The report said the north London club have opened the bidding for the Frenchman, by offering £6.5mn plus the services of Marouane Chamakh, who has failed to earn a place in the Arsenal starting line-up after arriving as a free agent two years back.
Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin rates Giroud at £50mn but it is understood the player has a release clause in the region of £12.8mn, reports the Daily Mail. The French champions will, understandably, be reluctant to part with their most valued asset. The 25 year old striker's impressive form convinced France manager Laurent Blanc to hand the forward his first international cap (in February) despite him being uncapped with any of the national youth teams. And Giroud repaid his manger's faith by scoring in Les Blues' 2-1 win over Germany.
Manchester United are also understood to be keeping tabs on the Frenchman and with Michael Owen having left Old Trafford and Dimitar Berbatov expected to depart soon, Sir Alex Ferguson wants to boost his attacking ranks to support Wayne Rooney.
Bayern Munich and Liverpool are also said to be monitoring the situation. The player revealed his agent had held discussions with the Bavarians over a potential summer move to the Allianz Arena.
In any case, as far as Arsenal are concerned, with club captain Robin van Persie's future still unclear, the Gunners are understood to be desperate to beat off the heavy competition to land Giroud.
Meanwhile, Arsenal's new assistant coach Steve Bould said it was a privilege and honour to be given the role at the club.
"I know I have some big boots to fill with Pat (Rice) having spent 44 years at the club and that is going to be the hard part. It is more than excitement, it is an absolute privilege and an honour," Goal.com quoted the 49 year old as saying.
Bould was promoted from the youth team coach position following Rice's retirement earlier this month. The former defender made 372 appearances for Arsenal between 1988 and 1999, winning three league titles and two FA Cups.