Arsenal legend Thierry Henry believes Olivier Giroud's move to Chelsea was more due to circumstances rather than the striker wanting to join the Blues.

The France international moved to the Stamford Bridge club on transfer deadline day on Thursday (31 January), after five and a half years with Arsenal, for a reported fee of around £18m (E$25.6m).

Giroud was linked with a move away from the north London club in the summer following the arrival of Alexandre Lacazette, but he chose to remain at the Emirates Stadium and fight for his place. The Frenchman made just one start in the Premier League with most of his game time coming in the Europa League and the Carabao Cup.

The 31-year-old was advised to play more in order to secure his place in Didier Deschamps' France team for the World Cup in Russia this summer, and he was guaranteed more playing time in the second-half of the campaign.

However, the departure of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United saw Arsenal turn their attention to Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The German club were willing to sanction the deal, but had two conditions — Arsenal meet their £56m valuation and that they will only sign off on the deal if they sign a replacement.

Giroud was expected to be part of the deal that brought the Gabon international to England, but the Frenchman was keen to remain in London and rejected the idea of moving abroad. Dortmund then turned their attention to Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi, but Chelsea were looking to sign a striker as well with Edin Dzeko their primary target.

After failing with a move for the Bosnian, they turned their attention to Giroud and made it clear that they will only sanction the move for Batshuayi if they can sign the Arsenal forward. And the Belgian was a key part of Aubameyang moving to Arsenal. Hence, the Gunners were forced to sell the striker to their main rivals.

Henry is of the belief that Giroud did not push for a move, but when it became clear that Aubameyang was arriving, he realised his game time would further reduce. Arsenal all-time top scorer believes the France international had no choice in accepting the move as it was the best on offer in terms of him remaining in the Premier League and an opportunity to play more regularly than he would have at Arsenal.

"What I like the most is, it's not like he wanted to go to Chelsea," Henry said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard. "No disrespect to Chelsea in any way, but it's happened.

"You can't have a go at him for trying to play a bit before the World Cup for a good team. All the very best. I hope people are not going to say anything bad about him because he does not deserve that," the former Gunners forward added.

"I thought he did what he had to do for Arsenal but on the other side the World Cup is coming, Chelsea are coming for you and they're ahead of Arsenal at the minute. Arsene is not playing you sometimes, Welbeck is in front of you and Lacazette has arrived and is in front of you.

"A lot of players went in front of him so I cannot fault him or be upset with him for going to Chelsea when he's not playing at Arsenal," Henry explained.

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud joined Chelsea from Arsenal on an 18-month contract on transfer deadline day (31 January) Getty