By Chris Harris
Olivier Giroud intends to savour every minute of his time with Arsenal after waiting patiently for his chance at the highest level.
The Club's latest signing is a relatively late developer in football terms - he was already 23 when he first played top-flight football in France having spent five years in the lower divisions.
Giroud took Ligue 1 by storm, topping the scoring charts with 21 goals in 36 games as Montpellier claimed a surprise title win in May. The 25-year-old has also broken into the France squad and says he appreciates his career more because it took time to take off.
"Yes, I’m conscious of the path I took to get here," Giroud told Arsenal Player.
"I’m proud of that and how I got here. I can see what happened to me until now and I hope to continue to progress and show that I can impose myself at the top level. It’s been great right now, I want to live it to the full, and I’ll savour this chance.
"At youth level, I didn't get my chance, so I wasn’t able to 'explode'. There were strikers who played instead of me, so I had to go elsewhere, that tends to happen when a player doesn’t get much playing time.
"I was loaned out, so to speak, to a lower division club, and I moved up season after season. I proved that I was good enough and season after season I scored goals, so I hope to be scoring a few goals next season in the Premier League too.”
One of Giroud's closest friends in football is Laurent Koscielny - who spent even less time in Ligue 1 before earning a move to Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2010.
"Of course [he is an inspiration], we have had a similar path in our careers," said Giroud. "I’m happy that he’s here now and that I can join him, and it’s a nice story because we were together at Tours four years ago, and we just missed out on getting promoted into Ligue 1.
"It was Montpellier who got promoted instead, and I joined them a few years later. It was there that I then exploded into Ligue 1 and then got into the French squad. Had they told me four years ago that I would be playing for Arsenal I would have signed right there and then!”
"Laurent and I have talked a lot [about Arsenal]. I asked him about life, the Club and the environment of the Club. We talked about English football because like I said I’ve wanted to play here since I was a kid.
"It was my dream to play in the Premier League so Arsenal was ideal for me and Laurent told me it was a good choice.”
Watch the full exclusive interview with Olivier on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 26 Jun 2012