Arsene Wenger has waved farewell to Chelsea-bound Olivier Giroud by praising the striker’s attitude during his time with Arsenal.
Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to seal a club-record transfer to Arsenal before Wednesday night’s deadline, with France striker Giroud set to journey across London in a reported £18million move to Chelsea.
Gunners boss Wenger refused to say whether he was confident of completing Aubameyang’s signing given the “complicated” nature of modern transfer deals.
But he showered praise on Giroud, who arrived as a 76th-minute substitute in Arsenal’s chastening defeat at the Liberty Stadium.
“It’s a tribute to Olivier (that he played) because he is a guy who gave great service to the club, he never let us down on the commitment front and saved us many times,” Wenger said.
“I have absolutely no doubt, when I ask him if he is ready to commit and he says yes.
“I have no problem with that and put him on because it was needed. Unfortunately he couldn’t help us.
“I took him from Montpellier and made him a strong international player for France.
“We have come together through good and bad but always his behaviour was top, top class.”
Asked whether Giroud’s departure was being forced to complete the Aubameyang deal, Wenger said the 31-year-old striker was in a “difficult situation” because of next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
“He’s an Arsenal man, after that he needs to play as well because he has not played many games in the Premier League since the start of the season,” Wenger said.
“He’s a regular player in the French national team. He has a World Cup where France will go, places of course are difficult to get.
“It was a difficult situation for him but he always had his heart 100 per cent in the team and was committed.”