Arsene Wenger has reiterated Arsenal's intention to retain the services of striker Olivier Giroud this summer, with rumoured suitors Everton potentially set to switch their focus to either Christian Benteke or Edin Dzeko as Ronald Koeman continues to dramatically strengthen his squad at Goodison Park.
Everton's interest in Giroud is well established, with The Times reporting last month that he was being targeted in preparation for the departure of prolific top scorer Romelu Lukaku. West Ham United and Lyon have also been heavily linked with the French international, while it was recently claimed by The Telegraph that Marseille believe they are in pole position to secure a €28m (£24.7m, $31.9m) deal.
Giroud started just 11 Premier League matches for Arsenal in 2016-17 and his first-team prospects look to have been further diminished by the £46.5m club-record signing of Les Bleus teammate Alexandre Lacazette.
Despite that, however, Wenger has always maintained that he is eager to keep a player who appears to retain a great degree of affection for the Gunners having only signed a new long-term contract in January.
"We extended his contract last year so our resolution is clear," the manager was quoted as saying by football.london at a press conference held following Arsenal's arrival in Australia for the first part of a pre-season tour, the 25-man squad for which included Giroud.
"He has great value to the squad and I think as well he is a great lover of the club. He loves the club and has always been very determined to stay."
Benteke and Dzeko interest
With Lukaku's move to Manchester United now complete and a deal for Giroud appearing potentially problematic, The Daily Mail reported on Monday evening (10 July) that Everton were discussing both Benteke and Dzeko as possible alternatives.
The former scored 17 goals in 40 appearances across all competitions last term after leaving Liverpool for Crystal Palace in a £27m deal, while the latter notched 39 times for AS Roma after seeing his initial one-year loan move from Manchester City converted into a permanent arrangement. Twenty-nine of those strikes came in Serie A, meaning that the record-breaking 31-year-old pipped Napoli's Dries Mertens to the Capocannoniere prize awarded to the highest scorer in the Italian top flight.
Koeman has already sought to bolster his forward options in lieu of Lukaku's departure, with Wayne Rooney sealing his return to Merseyside over the weekend. Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Sandro Ramirez and Henry Onyekuru have also been snapped up, with the latter set to spend next season on loan at Anderlecht.