Arsene Wenger says Arsenal “need” Olivier Giroud as he continues to be linked with a summer move elsewhere.
The France international made 39 appearances in the 2016-17 campaign, but only 11 of his 29 Premier League outings saw him handed a starting role.
Alexis Sanchez – who is generating plenty of transfer talk of his own – was often favoured as a central striker.
Goal recently revealed that West Ham are among those willing to offer Giroud a way out of Emirates Stadium in a £20 million deal, but Wenger insists the 30-year-old forward is still a big part of his plans.
He told reporters on the exit rumours: “It has been a frustrating season for him because he has not played a lot.
“And when he has played well, he has not always played the next match.
“He has won us a lot of points when he has come on because he has scored lots of times. He has qualities that our team need.”
Giroud has spent five seasons with Arsenal, having been snapped up from Montpellier in 2012.
He has been a regular source of goals throughout his time in north London and is just two short of reaching a century for the Gunners.