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Transfer Rater: Sturridge to Valencia

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Transfer Rater: Lloris to Real Madrid

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Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud confirms he nearly joined Everton in summer

Olivier Giroud says he was "very close" to joining Everton this summer but is happy he decided to stay at Arsenal.

Giroud was given the option to leave Arsenal after Arsene Wenger broke the club's transfer record to buy fellow France striker Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon.

Giroud was linked with both Everton and a return to Ligue 1 before he decided to stay and fight for his place at the Emirates. He has largely been a back-up to Lacazette this season but insisted he has no regrets about that decision

"I had the opportunity to leave. I was very close to another English club -- Everton -- but I think I made the best choice," Giroud told Canal Football Club ahead of Tuesday's final World Cup qualifier against Belarus.

Giroud said Marseille and Lyon also expressed an interest in him but that he wanted to remain in England.

"I have a lot of respect for Marseille, I was a fan for years," Giroud said. ""I also have a lot of respect for Lyon, who were also interested at one time. I didn't want to return to France. I'm happy in England, it's nothing against those clubs. But a return to France is possible one day."

Giroud has yet to start a Premier League game this season, but netted his 100th goal for the club against BATE Borisov in the Europa League last month. He also lost his starting place to Lacazette in France's qualifying win over Bulgaria last week.

France can clinch a spot at next summer's World Cup by beating Belarus on Tuesday.

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

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