(Reuters) - Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is unsure about his immediate future at the Premier League club but remains focused on preparing for the team’s pre-season fixtures, the France international said.
Manager Arsene Wenger used Giroud primarily as a substitute last season as the 30-year-old made 18 of his 29 league appearances off the bench and started in just three of Arsenal’s eight Champions League matches.
The North London club’s new signing Alexandre Lacazette will increase competition for starting places up front and while Giroud welcomes the added pressure, he remains uncertain about extending his five-year stay at the Emirates.
“At the moment I‘m still an Arsenal player so I’ll try to be professional like always and prepare well for next season,” Giroud told Sky Sports in Sydney.
”Obviously, there will be more competition, even more than last year, but it’s always nice for a striker to feel the pressure and I always deal with it.
“I’ve been through some difficulties these last years but always succeeded to bounce back, but this one I don’t know. I don’t know about my future so I can’t tell you more. I‘m focused on my pre-season.”
Two other major players that are yet to secure their Arsenal futures are midfielder Mesut Ozil and last season’s top scorer Alexis Sanchez, both of whom have entered the final year of their contracts and are yet to sign new deals.
On Wednesday, the German playmaker said that he would like to stay but would hold talks with the club after pre-season and is hopeful that Sanchez makes the same decision, admitting that the Chilean’s departure would hinder the club’s title challenge.
”It would hit the team quite hard if he left because he’s a player who always delivers,“ Ozil said. ”It would be a setback to winning the title, but in the end it’s the player’s decision.
”I hope Alexis stays but I don’t know what the status is, to be honest. I value him a lot as a player and he’s very well suited to the game Arsenal play.
“From a personal view I’d really appreciate if he stays, but it’s the player’s decision after all and there’s not much more I can comment on that.”
Arsenal will play their first pre-season match against Sydney FC on Thursday.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru