It looks increasingly likely that Marseille’s attempts to sign Mario Balotelli are set to end in failure, with agent Mino Raiola continuing to demand commission rates that are beyond the club’s financial means. Meanwhile, according to the latest reports from an array of sources including Eurosport and Foot Mercato, OM sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has switched his attention towards luring Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud to the Orange Vélodrome. But how exactly would the 31-year-old fit into Rudi Garcia’s plans this season?
Assuming that the former Lille and Roma coach decides to stick with his tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation, Giroud would be expected to lead the line and provide a physical presence ahead of the more diminutive trio of Lucas Ocampos, Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin. Though very similar to Kostas Mitroglou in many aspects of his game, he would be an upgrade on the man bought from Benfica last summer. The Frenchman is proven at the very top level and now has the extra confidence that comes with being a FIFA World Cup winner.
The ability to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations is still a bone of contention for OM, which is another reason why the addition of Giroud would represent a shrewd piece of business for them. It is unlikely that he would cost them any more than €15 million. The ex-Montpellier and Arsenal man is also a much safer bet than the aforementioned Balotelli, who is still liable to implode at any given moment. While the Italian is available for a mere €10 million, Raiola is in danger of pricing his client off the market with his excessive demands.
Moreover, Giroud fits the profile of player OM have often targeted since Frank McCourt took charge of the club just over 18 months ago. He is experienced and has previously enjoyed success in Ligue 1. The same can be said of Adil Rami, Morgan Sanson, Steve Mandanda, Aymen Abdennour and Valère Germain to name but a few. While supporters were initially told that the club planned to invest huge sums of money in order to catch Paris Saint-Germain, FFP soon put a stop to this. However, that does not mean Giroud would not be spearheading a very solid sporting project.
Indeed, Giroud is one of several players who face an uncertain future in West London following the arrival of new boss Maurizio Sarri. The Tuscan tactician is known to favour a similar style of play to that of Pep Guardiola and, with all due respect, that is something Giroud may struggle to adapt to at this stage of his career. A return to his homeland, where there is a much greater chance of him being given regular game time, is an ideal opportunity after a fruitful six-year spell in the Premier League.
While it remains to be seen whether a deal can be agreed between the OM board and their Stamford Bridge counterparts, there is no doubt that Giroud swapping the London lights for France’s south coast would make perfect sense for everyone concerned.
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