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Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud: Transfer talk helps to motivate me

Olivier Giroud has played an important role in Arsenal's title challenge this season.

Olivier Giroud says the constant transfer speculation linking Arsenal with other strikers only motivates him to prove his worth at the club.

Giroud is having arguably his best season at Arsenal with 18 goals in all competitions so far, after the Gunners were heavily linked with Karim Benzema and a long list of other centre-forwards in the summer transfer window.

The France international also started the season behind Theo Walcott in the pecking order before re-establishing himself as Arsene Wenger's first-choice striker, and he said the debate over the club's need for another forward only fuels his desire to prove people wrong.

"Obviously it helps to motivate you because when you are in your comfort zone, I think you maybe don't give your best," Giroud said in an interview with the monthly Arsenal Magazine. "So it helps sometimes to have speculation like that, to prove that you deserve your place in the team.

"In every single transfer period, there is some other striker's name coming out as a possible new signing. You have to deal with that and keep focused on the team and to help the team try to win every single game.

"You have to give your best and that's what I tried to do. I'm pleased with my first half of the season so far."

Giroud said his goal is to score 25 Premier League goals this season -- he has 12 so far -- and wants to keep up the consistency that has seen him score at least one goal every month since November 2014.

"Consistency is my target," he said. "Always getting better and better. I know what I can do, I'm pleased with what I have achieved so far but I really want to carry on and I'm sure I can still improve myself."

Despite having scored 17 Premier League goals with his head -- more than any other player since he arrived at Arsenal in 2012 -- he said he wants to improve his ability in the air.

"You know what, and it's weird to say it as a 6-foot-4 guy, but heading is not my best quality," Giroud said. "I can improve my heading a lot, and I'm sure I will.

"It's nice to score a lot of headers though because I think that means I'm at the right place at the right time often, and even more it means that I am getting good crosses. It's all about determination and commitment, and having a good mentality when you score headers."

Giroud has a total of 76 Arsenal goals so far, eight behind fellow Frenchman Robert Pires, and said he gets inspired when he sees the former Arsenal greats ahead of him on that list.

"I want to mark the history of the club, and for a striker you always do this by measuring how many goals you score and how many assists you give," Giroud said. "I know the part that my teammates play of course, but the most important thing you check is the goals of the striker. So yes, hopefully I can beat my friend Robert soon."

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.


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