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Meet the man who can indirectly lighten Giroud’s load at Arsenal

| 06.06.2014

At the start of last season it was clear that Olivier Giroud was going to need a helping hand up front for Arsenal, but the cavalry never arrived for the Frenchman.

Now with a whole summer’s transfer window to solve his striker shortage, it still seems Arsene Wenger is prioritising men who can provide Giroud with goals, rather than score them in his absence.

Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne is the man being eyed for a £17m bid this summer, with the Gunners boss tasking his scouts with keeping a close eye on the 23-year-old at the World Cup.

According to reports, how well the left-sided forward performs in Brazil – where he is 7/1 to be Italy’s top scorer – will depend on whether that bid is tabled or not. But Insigne’s arrival would certainly not lighten Giroud’s load. At least not directly.

The Naples native played in 46 games for his hometown club under Rafa Benitez last season, and not one of those appearances were made as a central striker.

The bulk of Insigne’s outings came as a left-sided forward and it’s clear that is his natural position, having scored four goals and laying on six assists from that berth in his 28 appearances in the spot last season.

Such a stellar campaign, in which he bagged a brace in the Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina, saw him land a spot in Cesare Prandelli’s 23-man World Cup squad, while pushing him to the forefront of some big side’s transfer thinking.

Should the Gunners, who can be backed at 9/1 to win next season’s Premier League, land the Italian, then it could free up Lukas Podolski to move infield from the left to provide Giroud the vital rest he’ll need.

Podolski, whose own future at the Emirates was called into question after the German became disgruntled with regularly getting the shepherd’s hook in matches, has often been thought of as Arsenal fans as a trusty central striker, and could see more game-time there should Insigne arrive.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.