Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud admits he was close to leaving The Emirates Stadium during the summer transfer window until talks with his family saw him renege on the decision. The 30-year-old made just 11 Premier League starts last season and was linked with moves to Everton and West Ham United following the arrival of Alexandre Lacazette.
The Daily Telegraph understood during the summer that the Premier League pair, as well as Ligue 1 duo Marseille and Lyon were all monitoring the future of Giroud, who himself admitted his immediate future could lie away from north London.
But following the start of the campaign Giroud committed himself to Arsenal for the remaining two years of his contract – which runs until 2019 – ending the quartet's hopes of completing a deal. The news was a particular blow to Everton, who had designs on making the France international the direct replacement for Romelu Lukaku.
"It is a very private decision," he told reporters, according to Football.London. "It is true that I was close to leaving the club because I wanted to play. After big reflection with my family, my close friends, I decided to stay. I thought the story wasn't finished at Arsenal. The club gave me a lot and I still want to win some more trophies with the club."
Everton boss Ronald Koeman made signing a front-line forward a priority during the final weeks of the transfer window but despite making 15 new additions during the summer he was unable to clinch an agreement. The Dutchman has come in for criticism from the likes of former Toffees defender Michael Ball who feels the Goodison Park club are at fault for delaying firming up their interest.
Meanwhile, a move to Everton - or the London Stadium where Slaven Bilic was eager to enhance West Ham's firepower – behind him, Giroud is now focused on reaching 100 goals for Arsenal. The ex-Montpellier frontman went to 99 after scoring the winner against Leicester City on the opening weekend and hopes to reach the landmark when he makes his first start of the campaign against FC Cologne in the Europa League on Thursday [14 September].
"I keep it in the back of my mind," Giroud admitted. "The most important thing is to win. If we play well, the goals will come. We are very focused on the Europa League. We want to go and win it. I hope it will happen as quick as possible. It is a privilege to score goals and win with Arsenal."