Lacazette set for central role as Giroud future remains unclear

Lacazette set for central role as Giroud future remains unclear

Arsene Wenger has huge respect for Olivier Giroud but conceded Alexandre Lacazette is likely to be first choice at centre-forward for Arsenal this season.

Record-signing Lacazette played on the left-hand side of the attack as the Gunners beat Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, with Giroud filling his customary role at number nine and opening the scoring.

The 30-year-old, who has been linked with Everton, West Ham and Marseille during the close season, was most recently touted for a move to Borussia Dortmund in the event of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang leaving Signal Iduna Park.

Wenger praised Giroud's showing in Sydney but, with Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck coming off the bench and Alexis Sanchez to come into the mix – pending well-trodden questions over his own future – the veteran Frenchman suggested Lacazette will not be used in a wide role too often.

"Lacazette will play most of the time as centre forward," he said. "He can play in any system because he’s a provider as well, he can combine and play in a 4-4-2.

"At the moment he plays a little bit behind Giroud, tonight he was more on the left, and he can play in that position as well."

Wenger added: "There is a lot of speculation, I have many times said that I have a huge respect for Olivier Giroud for the man he is and the way he loves our club.

"Even with all the speculation he is focused and does his job. I always said [that I expect him to stay], I was always consistent with that."

Speaking in the mixed zone afterwards, Giroud was giving little away when the prospect of a switch to Everton was put to him, saying: "I am still an Arsenal player for the moment and I want to prepare well for the new season."

He was more talkative on his link up with fellow Frenchman Lacazette, however, adding: "He's a good player. It's always easy to play with this kind of player. We have a good understanding on the pitch.

"We've had a bit of an opportunity to play together with the national team and I think he will settle well into the English Premier League."