Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he gave Olivier Giroud the chance to leave Arsenal this summer, but the powerful striker decided to stay put despite rumoured interest from a number of suitors including Everton.
Giroud proved to be the hero of the opening night of the 2017-18 Premier League season on Friday (11 August), demonstrating trademark strength to hold off centre-backs Harry Maguire and Wes Morgan to head home the winning goal in a thrilling 4-3 home defeat of plucky Leicester City.
Such an effort provoked scenes of sheer jubilation at the Emirates Stadium and came just two minutes after fellow substitute Aaron Ramsey looked to have rescued a point for the inconsistent Gunners after blasting in from close range.
Giroud's Arsenal future had been subject to considerable doubt after five years, with the £46.5m ($60.4m) club-record signing of Alexandre Lacazette expected to restrict his starting opportunities even further.
However, Wenger insists that Giroud will remain in north London beyond the end of the transfer window despite being given the opportunity to move on and seek more regular football elsewhere.
"I love the man and the player," the manager said in his post-match broadcast interview with Sky Sports. "He's a fantastic guy as well, committed and loves the club. He doesn't want to leave and I'm happy that he wants to stay. At some stage, I opened the door for him because I knew that I had many strikers.
"But he's really loved here. We love him and in the end he decided to stay."
Wenger further reiterated the point in his written press conference, describing Giroud's decision to remain with Arsenal as a "relief" and "one of the greatest days I've had in recent months". He also labelled the former Montpellier marksman as being "in his prime" and "at the top of his game".
He added: "There is no chance he could go before the window closes. It's a determined no."