Arsenal are set to use flop signing Marouane Chamakh as bait in their attempts to bring Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud to the Emirates.
25-year old Giroud has been tracked by the Gunners’ scouts for a long time now, and after starring in Montpellier’s title success last season, has been identified as the perfect foil for Dutch striker Robin van Persie.
Giroud enjoyed a great season in front of goal for La Paillade, scoring 21 times in 36 appearances that helped Montpellier beat free-spending Paris Saint Germain to their first ever title.
That form has attracted a lot of interest from many quarters, with the likes of Aston Villa, Liverpool and Newcastle also reported to be eyeing up the 6’3″ striker.
Arsenal however are reported to be in pole position to seal the deal, even more so considering Bayern Munich ended their fleeting interest in the striker last weekend.
However, Arsene Wenger is ready to play hardball with Montpellier for Giroud, who is contracted to the Ligue 1 side till 2014 and has a £12.8 million release clause in his contract.
The Gunners’ manager is ready to part with only £6 million in cash, along with providing a replacement in the form of Chamakh.
The Moroccan is perilously on the brink of an exit from the Emirates anyway regardless of the Giroud transfer, and could be sold for as less as £3 million after a very disappointing two-year stint with the Gunners.
Giroud is rumoured for an exit this summer, but could hold off making a commitment till the end of Euro 2012, where a strong showing with France could boost interest in the striker as well as allow the player to demand better personal terms.