New Arsenal signing Olivier Giroud has revealed Chelsea were also interested in signing him but the influence of Arsene Wenger and the rest of Gunners’ French contingent persuaded him to snub the Blues.
The 25-year-old, who has just returned from international duty with France at Euro 2012, passed a medical and agreed personal terms with the Gunners on Monday.
Giroud then completed his £13m transfer from Montpellier on Tuesday after rejecting the chance to sign for the Champions League winners.
The international player said he prefers the setup at Arsenal, including its French influence, and suspected the Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo knew “little about” him.
“Why did I choose Arsenal rather than Chelsea?” Giroud told French newspaper L’Equipe. “Because it is a club I love and I thought it would be easier for my adaptation.
“Arsenal is a great club, the facilities are wonderful, but I feel it is a club that takes big care before signing a player, notably considering human values.
“There are French players. There is also Arsène Wenger, who let me understand he really wanted me. Chelsea is very nice, it is a great club, but I am not convinced Di Matteo knows who I am.”
There is now speculation that Giroud’s first game for Aresnal, will come during a lurcative pre-season friendly against Nigeria in Abuja on August 5, less than a fortnight before the new Barclays Premier League campaign gets underway.
The game is expected to be a sell-out as the Gunners visit Africa for the first time since 1993, when they toured South Africa.