Chelsea have finalised the deal to sign Oliver Giroud from Arsenal for £18million.
The Gunners agreed to sell Giroud to their London rivals after wrapping up a club-record £56m deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Dortmund were prepared to sell Aubameyang once they knew they had a deal secured for Michy Batshuayi, who underwent his medical in Germany on Wednesday morning.
The two clubs have yet to announce Giroud’s transfer, but he has also completed his medical and agreed personal terms for his move across London.
The signing of Giroud ends Chelsea’s frantic search for a striker this January, with the club chasing Roma’s Edin Dzeko, Andy Carroll from West Ham, and even 37-year-old Stoke star Peter Crouch.
Wenger hailed the ‘top class’ commitment of Giroud after the striker played in Arsenal’s defeat by Swansea despite being on the brink of joining Chelsea.
The 31-year-old Frenchman, who spent five-and-a-half years at Arsenal, came on for the final 15 minutes of the surprise 3-1 loss on Tuesday night even while the club ironed out the final details of his transfer.
In the wake of his side’s disappointing display in South Wales, Wenger paid tribute to his departing forward.
‘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.’
Giroud’s transfer had earlier reached an impasse as talks between Arsenal and Chelsea broke down over the fee. However, Wenger’s willingness to help Giroud achieve his move is understood to have been a key factor.
Dortmund were refusing to sign off Aubameyang’s transfer without securing a replacement and they had also discussed signing Giroud on loan.
However, Arsenal’s desire to complete a permanent sale, plus Giroud’s determination to move across London, helped get the deal over the line.