Arsene Wenger Will Block Arsenal Striker Olivier Giroud From January Exit

Arsene Wenger has insisted he will not allow Olivier Giroud to leave Arsenal in the January transfer window and promised the French forward he will get more playing time.

Giroud came off the bench to score the equalizer in Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Southampton on Sunday (December 10), his 17th goal from the bench in the Premier League—a joint record with former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

It was Giroud's fourth goal in the Premier League this season in 13 appearances despite not starting a single game for Arsenal. Reports have suggested Giroud will seek a move in the new year in search of first-team football as he fears for his place in France's World Cup squad next year.

Asked whether such an important player could be sold, Wenger said: "In your question is the answer, because you say he is important, why should we lose an important player?

"Is it up to him or up to us? It's up to us. It's a remarkable achievement what he has done again."

Alexandre Lacazette
Olivier Giroud, second right, at St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England, December 10. Giroud scored his 17th goal from the bench for Arsenal on Sunday. Catherine Ivill/Getty

The addition of Alexandre Lacazette in the summer from Lyon for a club-record £46.5 million has seen Giroud fall down the pecking order at the Emirates. Known for his prolific ability, Lacazette has scored eight times in 17 appearances this season. Alexis Sanchez is the preferred starter alongside Lacazette, while Danny Welbeck has also returned to the first-team squad.

But with Arsenal still competing across four fronts—the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup—Wenger promised Giroud would get his opportunity in the team.

"He will start games," Wenger said, as quoted by the Daily Mirror.

"I consider Olivier Giroud as a regular player. We have to be grateful that he is part of a great team and one who can come on and make a difference with the right attitude and ability. He is a talent."

Arsenal's dropped points on Sunday leave Wenger's team in fifth place in the Premier League, a massive 17 points off runaway leader Manchester City but one off fourth-place Liverpool.

Wenger's team makes the short journey to east London on Wednesday to face David Moyes' West Ham, reinvigorated after beating Antonio Conte's Chelsea, before hosting Newcastle United at the Emirates on Saturday.