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Thank you Olivier Giroud

The arrival of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a double-edged sword for us Gooners.

It was first and foremost great news. We have captured a player we’ve all had our lusty eyes on for some time. One who rampaged his way through the Bundesliga as part of a slowly dismantling Dortmund side, outscoring the majority of players with his pace and accuracy.

Then, there is the fact that we lost one of our favourite – and most effective – players as a result of the signing.

Farewell and thank you Olivier Giroud.

The Frenchman was marginalised at first, perhaps for the fact that his handsome features meant he wasn’t the right mould to puncture the rigorous defences of a Premiership team.

Then, his frustrations and rolling around on the turf added weight to the claims that he didn’t have the mettle for the rough and tumble of our league.

Giroud was made of sterner stuff though. He adapted, his frame was used to great effect and we saw that he was more than a front post poacher. His approach play was in tune, his link-up play was perhaps the finest of any striker in the Premiership.

He never made the magical 20-goal mark, but it dawned on us all how very useful he is.

Last season really showed us though, that he had an affinity with Arsenal. He told us how he was warned that he wouldn’t be first choice with the arrival of Lacazette, but he decided to stay and offer his services to further our cause.

This season saw him rise valiantly from the bench on more than a few occasions and make a difference, so much so that his goals landed him level as the equal most scorer as a substitute in the Premier League.

He earned his starting role with Les Bleus, but with a World Cup on the horizon, could we be selfish enough to keep him with us for those sporadic cameos he does so well? Knowing that doing so would most likely ruin his World Cup dream?

No, we did the right thing by letting him leave. Unfortunately, it was to Chelsea. The destination may not suit us, but it will keep him firmly in the eye of Didier Deschamps.

He’s done enough for us that we wish him well, even though he’s joined a London rival. That is a testament to his actions for Arsenal.

Giroud joined us after winning a surprise Ligue Un title with Montpellier, for a bargain £12m. He scored over 100 goals for us since his arrival in 2012. That is some return for the money.

We can never claim he was prolific, but we can definitely say he was useful and gave everything for our badge. He was charismatic, he played his part off the pitch and on the pitch? He did more than enough to earn our affection, which he has got in spades.

He deserves our well wishes. We can overlook the shirt he currently wears, because we all know that underneath it, his heart will always beat red and white.

Merci Olivier.

Would FIFA Escape Punishment in Any Other Sport?

The elongated table that the group of men now sat at was comprised of expertly cut glass and a sleek combination of metals that gave the office furniture a modern edge that belied the wood which bedecked the floor. The building that housed this meeting was also on the aged side, but had been chosen for its strong links to the roots of the very sport they discussed. The thought process behind the decision was convoluted, but essentially, if this ‘Think-Tank’ were to be located within a building of such heritage, then it may augur towards a decision that had the sport’s best interests at heart.

Ten men, all resplendent in suits that cost more than an annual wage for the waiting staff of the meeting, sat in the plush leather seats that were positioned symmetrically around the space-age table. All could have been the clone of the other. Balding, skin and waistband suffering from the lavish diet that was bestowed upon them by holding such an esteemed position. The cadre of heavy-breathing men who had one-track minds had probably ten years left on this earth, tops.

They were all here, enjoying the finest of champagnes in flutes of crystal, under the premise of the next Ryder Cup. After ‘The Miracle of Medinah’, the sports stock had never been higher. Ticket admissions had risen tenfold for all the Majors and television rights contract talks had been the herald for each of these men to pocket yet another bonus with multiple zeroes.

The man sat at the head of the table was of a different ilk to the bloated husks that dotted the rest of the perimeter of the table. Slim and with a modest blue suit, he could’ve been CEO of the governing body of European golf or he could’ve been Manager of your local supermarket. He had an amiable face that was open to conversation but also wouldn’t have let him down in a poker game. Instead of a glass of champagne, a bottle of regular spring water stood next to his stack of notes. He stood up.

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