Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s imminent arrival meant Olivier Giroud had to leave Arsenal in order to get playing time and London rivals Chelsea were the “obvious” choice out of all his suitors, the Frenchman said on Saturday.
Giroud left for Stamford Bridge on the final day of the January transfer window, completing a move reportedly worth £18million.
The Frenchman looked set to become third choice at Arsenal behind Alexandre Lacazette and Aubameyang, who joined the Gunners on the same day.
Giroud had been linked with a switch for much of the month after struggling to oust Lacazette from the starting XI in the first half of the season and he revealed that Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Roma were all in the hunt.
However, once Antonio Conte’s interest was known, Giroud’s mind was made up.
“Dortmund was interested, but for a loan,” said Giroud. “There was Sevilla too and at one point my agent received a call from Roma.
“But my choice was quite clear and obvious when I knew that Antonio Conte wanted to work with me.
“I know that Conte appreciates my profile, we’ll work well together.”
Giroud was unperturbed when Lacazette signed from Lyon in pre-season and was ready to fight for his place, but his mind changed when Aubameyang was also brought in.
“I wanted to stay at Arsenal [in pre-season] to try my luck even though Alex Lacazette arrived,” said the 31-year-old.
“But the fact is, the coach wanted to recruit a new forward [Aubameyang]. With his signing, there were three top strikers and that’s why I decided to leave.
“It made sense for me to give a new direction to my career. There was an element of disappointment, even though I spent five wonderful years there.
“I could have stayed. I wanted to stay in the Premier League and Chelsea was a great opportunity for me.”Unblock the FIFA World Cup with ExpressVPN the #1 Trusted Name in VPN