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Written by Squid Boy on Monday, 18 June 2012 22:42

While there had been growing whispers on the Interweb over the last few weeks regarding a move for Olivier Giroud, yesterday’s report in FranceFootball gave the strongest indication yet that it is a done deal. And I can’t contain my delight at snapping up France’s no.9.

Some will say it’s an indication that RvP is offski. Which may or may not be true. But it isn’t it nice to be proactive for once?

Instead of selling v.Persie and fishing around the transfer market like Desperate Dans afterwards, we are either replacing him early (worst-case scenario) or supplementing him (best-case scenario). Whilst the latter is obviously more palatable, the former is at least acceptable.

If signing a striker to combine with Robin and share his goalscoring burden isn’t enough to show ambition to the captain, then not much will. And if Giroud does end up as a replacement, at least we avoid a repeat of last summer’s Cesc/Mata situation. Huge credit to the Club for acting quickly and decisively.

And that’s without mentioning Podolski, another player I am hugely excited about. I’ve watched his performances in the group stages very and reckon he’ll fit like a dream into our current system.

I kept a keen eye on his performances for Koln during the back-end of last season and listened to a lot of expert opinion on him. His talent was never in doubt, but some felt his temperament left a lot to be desired. The harshest critics likened his laziness on the pitch to Adebayor’s.

Thankfully my fears that he was a primadonna have been allayed by a high work-rate up and down Germany’s left-flank, especially in their first two games versus Portugal and Holland. Lest we forget their respective right-wingers are Nani and Robben. He may not have scored or created any goals but I was delighted with Poldi’s work ethic – as were many in the German camp, included Herr Schweinstieger and our very own BFG Per Mertesacker.

The naysayers claimed he should have been more effective in the final third. Lo and behold when the shackles came off against Denmark, his attacking talent shone and he delivered a goal on his auspicious 100th cap. A hard worker who obeys teams orders AND shows cutting edge AND scores on the big occasion? Yes please.

After the end of the season, I spoke about how we needed to maximise our resources to reach the next level. Since the stadium move, it is fair to say we’ve been financially hamstrung. However it now seems the purse-strings have been loosened and we can reap what we sowed when deciding to relocate.

Guaranteed Champions League football for next season has given us the opportunity to maximise our resources instead of saving them for a rainy day. After years of being unable to reach for the brass ring, we finally have the footballistic and financial capacity to do so.

Sometimes a match takes on greater importance not just because of the positives that winning it would bring, but also because of the potential repercussions of failure.

An example of this was the 2011 Carling Cup final. Whilst winning it would have got the trophyless monkey off our back, it was the ramifications of not grabbing such a golden opportunity which I was worried about. And sadly, my fears came true as we folded in all competitions and that monkey grew ever larger. Stupid monkey.

It was a similar scenario with the final game of the season at West Brom. Win and we would have a platform to build on. Lose and the implications would be unbearable – especially in light of Chelsea’s CL victory. Take a look at Spurs’ current situation: it ain’t pretty.

Now compare it to ours, where things are relatively rosy.

RvP and/or Theo Walcott may well leave, but it won’t be the end of the world. In Podolski and Giroud we already have positional replacements for them. And if we enter the campaign with all four, we’d have frontline full of options and depth. Throw in a defensive-midfielder (Yann M’Vila, anyone?) and perhaps a creative one if we’re being greedy. What do you have? A group of players primed to launch an assault on the title.

Au contraire, missing out on the CL would have almost guaranteed that Robin was off and Theo’s future would be similarly uncertain. We might not have been able to flex our financial muscles to significantly increase their wages or convince them of our ambition via new signings. Nor would we have the attraction of CL football to recruit adequate replacements. That rainy day I mentioned above? It would be occurring right now.

Whatever the makeup of the squad come August, this chance has only arrived because we finished 3rd.  And I’m happy the Club is trying to make the most of it. It feels like something has changed for the better this summer. Long may the good feeling continue.

In a few years time we may look back on that victory at the Hawthorns as this generation’s 1987 League Cup semi-final win at White Hart Lane. David Rocastle’s winning goal that day sparked the good times. Could Kieran Gibbs’ last-ditch match-saving tackle do the same?

Squid Boy (https://twitter.com/#!/TheSquidBoyLike)

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