Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud: Transfer gossip spurs me on
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has told L'Equipe he does not suffer from "an inferiority complex" in comparison to other Premier League strikers such as Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa, also insisting that criticism merely serves to motivate him to play better.
Giroud, 28, was sidelined for much of the first half of the Premier League season with a broken leg and he has struck only eight goals this term, nine shy of the English top-flight's joint-leading scorers Costa and Aguero.
However, Giroud's goals have come from just 10 starts, meaning his goals-per-minute ratio is better than Chelsea's Costa and does not lag far beyond Manchester City's Aguero.
"I don't have an inferiority complex. I don't have their name, but -- in terms of stats -- I am just behind Costa and Aguero," the France international forward said.
"When people are talking about a player to come and take your place, you take it personally because it's your position. I hear people say, 'They have Giroud and Welbeck but they need a world-class striker.' Meaning, us, we're not world-class forwards.
"It spurs you on. Recently, there was a buzz around [Porto striker] Jackson Martinez. The coach has said good things about him, the player has said he would like to come. I learned that before the Middlesbrough game [a 2-0 win]. It gave me added motivation. I was very happy to score those two goals."
After finding the net 11 times in the Premier League in his first season in England following his summer 2012 move from Montpellier, Giroud struck 16 times last term, the sixth-highest tally in the division. He admitted he still has room for improvement, however.
"When I put my head in my hands after missing a chance, that annoys the coaches a little," he said. "They want me to be more of a 'killer', almost insensitive.
"Diego Costa doesn't show any emotion. I am more emotional. So I have learned to control my emotions."
Giroud, who acknowledged last summer's arrivals of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez have lightened the burden on him, also feels less pressure in the Arsenal attack.
"I'm less isolated. Before, I was the centre-forward and it was up to me to score. Now, the attention is no longer focused on a single player," he added.
"There's more pace, more penetration. We're less predictable and there is more diversity. Danny likes to cut inside. Alexis can make the difference with the ball at his feet. He brings zest and a personality that we didn't have. He's a Duracell battery. He never stops. His hunger is infectious."