Olivier Giroud wants to write new chapter in his Arsenal story

Ozil and Lacazette among seven Arsenal stars rested for Europa League clash against Koln

The ex-Montpellier frontman went to 99 after scoring the victor against Leicester City on the opening weekend and hopes to reach the landmark when he makes his first start of the campaign against FC Cologne in the Europa League on Thursday [14 September].

A Premier League victor against Leicester on the opening day took Giroud to 99 Arsenal goals, but he has since been restricted to 67 minutes from the bench.

He chose to stay and now, Olivier Giroud has explained why he stayed at the Emirates and why he wanted to leave in the first place.

The Frenchman made it clear in the summer that he could not afford one more season of warming the bench at Arsenal and was considering leaving the club in the recently concluded transfer window.

And sitting alongside his manager at the pre-match press conference, Giroud said: "It's a privilege for me to play for Arsenal and to score nearly 100 goals".

Wenger took the opportunity to praise Giroud's "huge contribution" and "loyal spirit" over his five years at the club.

"It is true I was close to leaving the club because I said I wanted to play, but after a big reflection with my family and close friends in the sport, I wanted to stay at Arsenal".

"I still want to improve and win trophies with the club".

While Giroud wants to stay put, full-back Mathieu Debuchy has revealed he was unable to leave during the transfer window despite being told he could depart for free.

But following the start of the campaign Giroud committed himself to Arsenal for the remaining two years of his contract - which runs until 2019 - ending the quartet's hopes of completing a deal.

It may not have happened that way had he left this summer. But that came to nothing. "I'm training with the professionals during the week and I am playing with the youngsters at the weekend".

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