Giroud: I chose Arsenal over Chelsea

Arsenal's new recruit Olivier Giroud has revealed he was targeted by Premier League rivals Chelsea, but was convinced to move to North London by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

The French international added that the importance of having a French contingent alongside him at Emirates Stadium was important to him as sought the best transfer for his development.

The former Montpellier striker played an influential role in the French club's successful campaign last season, scoring 21 goals to help them lift the first Ligue 1 title in their history

An exceptional season was capped off when Giroud was included in Laurent Blanc’s 23-man squad for Euro 2012, and although there was interest from London rivals Chelsea, the 25-year-old was more than happy to sign for the Gunners.

"Why did I choose Arsenal rather than Chelsea? Because it is a club I love. And I thought it would be easier for my adaptation [to English football]," he told L'Equipe.

"Arsenal is a great club, the facilities are wonderful, but I feel it is a club that takes big care before signing a player, notably considering human values.

"There are French players. There is also Arsene Wenger who let me understand he really wanted me.

"Laurent Koscielny talked to me a lot about the club and sang the praises of Arsenal. It is really great to meet him again after sharing moments together in Ligue 2 at Tours.

"Chelsea is very nice, it is a great club, but I am not convinced [Roberto] Di Matteo knows who I am."

The left-footed marksman admitted the prospect of plying his trade in the Premier League alongside Dutchman Robin van Persie played a key role in his decision, and stated that he is not a replacement for Arsenal's top scorer and looks forward to playing with the striker.

"When you make the decision to join a great club, you know there is already a great forward. I know what to expect," he added.

"Van Persie is a fantastic player who was outstanding last season. He has been at Arsenal for eight years, I hope I will have time to adapt and improve.

"Anyway, I don't go there to take his place."

By Matt Maltby