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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed Olivier Giroud left the Gunners for Chelsea in January to boost his hopes of playing for France at the 2018 World Cup this summer.

“Olivier is an Arsenal man as well. He left for similar reasons to Theo Walcott, by being sad to leave but also objective enough to analyse his situation,” said Wenger.

His professional career demanded that he moved, but his heart wanted him to stay. Both Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are similar cases on that front.”

The 31-year-old, who scored 105 goals in 253 games over five-and-a-half years at Arsenal, signed an 18-month deal with Chelsea at the end of the transfer window.

After spending last season behind Alexis Sanchez in the striker pecking order, Giroud wanted more assurances over playing time in 2017/18.

He nearly joined Everton in the summer before committing his future to the Gunners, but his World Cup hopes were in the balance this season while he spent the first half of the campaign on the bench, forcing him to ask Wenger for a transfer.

Giroud has scored 29 goals in 69 games for France and has been a terrific servant for the national team. He’s played in the 2012 European Champions, 2014 World Cup and 2016 European Championships.

He turns 32 in September, meaning this summer’s World Cup could be the last of his career, so he was determined not to miss out.

Giroud has scored one goal in eight appearances for Chelsea but should keep himself in contention of making the squad so long as he’s getting regular playing time under Antonio Conte.

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