The 1998 World Cup winner believes his countryman faces a difficult task in replacing the prolific Dutch striker, but has backed him to come good in the Premier LeagueEXCLUSIVE
By David Lynch
Former France international Christian Karembeu believes striker Olivier Giroud will struggle to fill the void left at Arsenal by Robin van Persie, who is a "killer" in front of goal.
The 26-year-old arrived at the Emirates Stadium two months prior to Van Persie's move to Manchester United, but Arsene Wenger later admitted he was earmarked to replace the former Gunners captain ahead of an inevitable transfer.
But Karembeu, who represented his country during a successful 1998 World Cup campaign, believes his compatriot has a long way to go to emulate the mercurial Dutchman.
"Both are tall and left footed, they have the same characteristics. Van Persie however does have more experience both in the Premier League and at international level," he told Goal.com.
"Van Persie is more of a killer and will punish teams more."
The 41-year-old, who previously played in the Premier League during a season-long spell at Middlesbrough, did admit Giroud faces unfair pressure as he adapts to a new league.
"Well we have seen with Chamakh that when you go to a new league at a big club it is not easy, but with Van Persie leaving it meant there is a gap for Giroud to fill," he continued.
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But Karembeu backed the former Montpellier man to find his stride soon, after a meteoric rise through European football.
"Giroud is younger and is still learning, he only started playing in the top flight in France a few years ago and now he finds himself in the Premier League at Arsenal," he added.
"He has improved a lot over the years and last season was top goalscorer in France. Hopefully he can repeat this in England."
Karembeu was speaking to promote the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the world’s largest online gaming tournament. For more information and to take part visit www.fifa.com/fiwc.