Giroud: I'm not RVP's replacement

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has called on fans to give him leeway and not consider him as the direct successor to former captain Robin van Persie.

FOotball News: Olivier Giroud.

By staff

Van Persie scored 37 goals in 48 games for the Gunners last season, but moved to Barclays Premier League rivals Manchester United earlier this month in a deal worth up to £25 million.

However, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks to have brought in an able-enough replacement in Giroud, whose 21 goals last season helped Montpellier pip big-spending Paris St-Germain to a shock French Ligue 1 title triumph.

Nonetheless, Giroud has made it clear he does not wish to be considered as the Dutchman's substitute, and is hoping to create a name for himself at the Emirates Stadium.

"I am not here to replace Van Persie or to make people forget him," he told The Sun. "I am here to bring something different.

"I don't have the pretension of saying I will replace him because I have every respect for him as he had an enormous season last year.

"I wish him good luck for the future but I need to bring what I can bring without being pretentious to say I am here to replace him. That would be very bad."

It has now been eight years since Arsenal have won the Premier League and Giroud believes a lack of consistency is the main thing that's currently hampering their progress.

"Of course the fans want to win a trophy badly," he added. "I know that.

"When you are a top-level sportsman you have to believe and want to be the best.

"For us to fight for the title we need to have the spirit of a group. It could seem banal but it is important.

"It's what makes the essence of the team - the solidarity and unity of the group. We all have to be going in the same direction.

"I watched the Premier League a lot. Arsenal are capable of playing great matches but, on the other hand, some games can pass them by. We must gain in consistency."

The 25-year-old did not fare so well in the Gunners' opening game of the season against Sunderland last Saturday, but he remains confident he can come the player his team-mates can rely on for the goals needed to win matches.

"I feel ready," he proclaimed. "Absolutely ready to assume the responsibility and make people say 'yes, we have Olivier'.

"If I didn't think that I would never get my chance. If you sign for a big club it's to replace another striker who leaves, or you come and sit on the bench and wait for some game time or wait until a striker is less efficient, needs a breather or is injured.

"Unfortunately that's how it is in football. Now I have a chance as Robin left, so I will get more time to play and I need to assume the responsibility. In fact, I must.

"Because that is my chance and I have to take it. The ball is in my court and the show must go on."

Giroud will have a second chance to impress his new fans on Saturday when Arsenal take on Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

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