Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla has attempted to deter the club from reigniting their interest in signing Wayne Rooney or Luis Suarez in the January transfer window by claiming that Olivier Giroud is as good as any forward in the Premier League.
The Gunners failed with bids for both Rooney and Suarez in the summer transfer window and the club don't appear to have suffered, with Giroud having led the attack with success, scoring 13 goals and making seven assists this season.
Manager Arsene Wenger's confidence in Giroud was such that Arsenal refrained from signing a striker in the January transfer window to assist the Frenchman though the club have been linked with making a marque attacking signing this coming summer.
Diego Costa and Jackson Martinez have been heavily linked with moves to the Emirates Stadium, but Cazorla has leapt to the defence of Giroud, saying he is equal to any striker in the Premier League.
"He's playing at a great level and improves year on year," Cazorla told French media outlet RMC. "He's at the same level as the other forwards in the league.
"He's strong and can keep the ball. In the penalty box, he's effective, whether that be with both feet or his head. He's a bit different to what you usually see in England, but he brings us a lot.
"He's a great striker, and we've seen that since the start of the season. He's also doing great things with the French national team."
With Nicklas Bendtner's form having wavered and with little else in reserve for Arsenal, Giroud has been forced to lead the line for much of the campaign and Wenger will be hoping the 27 year old is not overworked by the time the season reaches the sharp end.
Arsenal can return to the Premier League summit on Wednesday should they beat Manchester United, the latest fixture in a tough run of games for the north London club.
After facing the champions Liverpool travel to the Emirates in the FA Cup fifth round before the resumption of the Champions League comes against Bayern Munich.