Olivier Giroud has left Arsenal’s team hotel in Swansea ahead of the Frenchman’s move to London rivals Chelsea.
Giroud was part of Arsene Wenger's side to take on Swansea City tonight, however the striker has now left the group to return to London and finalise a move to west London side worth a reported £18 million.
The Blues have long been looking for a target man this January transfer window, and after failed attempts to sign Edin Dzeko and Peter Crouch, Antonio Conte looks set to capture the signature of Giroud, who has been out of favour at the Emirates Stadium this season.
A fan favourite
The former Montpellier frontman joined the club in the summer of 2012, being tasked with replacing Robin van Persie, who had left for Manchester United that same window. Since then Giroud has made 252 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 102 goals.
During his time at Arsenal, Giroud was well loved within the Gunners community. His knack to come off the bench and make an instant impact was vital in the six seasons the French international spent at the club.
Giroud assisted Aaron Ramsey’s winning goal during the 2017 FA Cup final against the team he is set join in the next few hours, and the Frenchman won the Puskas Award the same year for his scorpion kick goal against Crystal Palace.
A busy January
The January transfer window this year has been the busiest in Arsenal’s history, with the club offloading Theo Walcott after 12 years at the North London club, as well as completing a swap deal with Man United involving Alexis Sanchez going up north in exchange for Armenian winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also on the brink of joining the Gunners in a club-record deal worth around £55 million. However, for Aubameyang to join Arsenal, Dortmund must first find a replacement for their star attacker.
Giroud was highly rumoured to be part of the deal that would see the 31-year-old striker join the Bundesliga club on a six-month loan deal. But now that Chelsea seem to have won the race for the forward, Dortmund have now turned their attention to Blues striker Michy Batshuayi, who is not seen as viable option for Conte.