Date: 13th June 2012 at 2:09pm
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There have been plenty of whispers over the last fortnight that Arsenal have been closing in on Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud, those whispers appear to have morphed into a low murmur with the usually reliable David Ornstein of BBC Sport reporting that paperwork is at an advanced stage. Over the weekend, Montpellier manager Rene Girard told a French radio station that there was a mutual desire on the part of both Arsenal and Giroud to seal the deal.

Giroud scored 25 goals last season for the surprise French champions. It had been rumoured that the Gunners were trying to make Marouane Chamakh a deadweight, sorry, I mean a makeweight in the deal. Giroud is a close friend of Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, with whom he was a teammate at Ligue 2 side Tours. He is currently representing France at Euro 2012. Such a signing is likely to increase speculation that current captain Robin van Persie will depart this summer with Lukas Podolski already in the bag. My own view is that Giroud and Podolski are intended to replace and / or supplement.

After a few summers of dithering and making do and mend in the transfer market, it looks like Arsenal are trying to do their business early. It could be interpreted that van Persie`s vow of silence was to allow the club to negotiate these deals from a position of strength. My (uninformed) view is that Arsenal are trying to cover all eventualities. I believe they would be prepared to let van Persie leave on a free next summer, with Giroud and Podolski boasting a year under their belts to step up and replace. Or else if we do get a crazy offer for van Persie this summer, we`ve at least tried to fill the void. It`s also worth considering that Vela, Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin and Park are all not long for the club with no news on Walcott`s contract either.

Whatever the permutations, it looks at least like Arsenal are trying to be proactive and I think that should please most Arsenal fans regardless of the underlying politics. That said, we now how these transfer deals can sometimes pan out. Arsenal is linked with player. Tottenham quickly link themselves with player. Chelsea offer to double player`s money at last minute. Chelsea sign player. So worth perhaps checking your excitement until the ink is dry.