Giroud - Belhanda keen on Prem
Mon, 03 Jun 2013 12:38:00
Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud says Montpellier star Younes Belhanda has spoken to him about the Premier League amid speculation of a summer move.
The Morocco international has confirmed he wants to quit Montpellier in the summer and has been linked with a move to Germany or England, with north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal said to be keen.
Gunners forward Giroud played with Belhanda at Montpellier for two seasons prior to his move to the Emirates Stadium last year and was part of the side that won the French title in 2011/12.
When asked about a potential move to Arsenal for Belhanda, Giroud told L'Equipe: "I would welcome him with open arms. He called me to ask advice about the Premier League.
"He has the right physical abilities and is built for that league. He would just need to work on his fitness to resist challenges."
Reflecting on his first year in an Arsenal shirt, Giroud admits he felt under pressure to perform following Robin van Persie's high profile departure to Manchester United.
The 26-year-old responded with 17 goals in all competitions as the Gunners snatched fourth place from under the noses of rivals Spurs on the final day of the season.
"I am quite happy with my first season at Arsenal," he added. "I am very happy we secured Champions League qualification because a lot of people didn't have any faith in us.
"There was an unconscious pressure due to the departure of van Persie, with a lot of expectation. But the boss played me little by little in the starting IX to ease the weight of that expectation."