How LAFC found missing puzzle piece with Olivier Giroud signing

LAFC may just have finally found the solution to their ongoing striker search with the addition of Olivier Giroud, who’s set to join the Black and Gold this summer.

Giroud reportedly put pen to paper earlier this week to join LAFC on an 18-month contract that ties him to Los Angeles through the 2025 Major League Soccer season, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.

The 37-year-old World Cup winner is set to reunite with former France international teammate Hugo Lloris, as both will provide plenty of experience for the 2022 MLS Cup winners for the next couple of seasons. Even though LAFC have been able to remain quite consistent without a true center-forward, the addition of Giroud will aid in the Black and Gold’s attempts to reach a third-straight MLS Cup final and truly unlock an attack with massive potential.

Giroud is headed to Los AngelesGiroud is headed to Los Angeles

Giroud is headed to Los Angeles / Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that LAFC have been in the market for a new No. 9, and they’ll soon enough have their hands on one of the most iconic strikers from the last decade. Club legend Carlos Vela — who amassed 147 goal involvements in 188 appearances for LAFC and is currently a free agent — was still getting the job done last season with 14 goals across all competitions.

However, Vela did show signs of being on the decline at 35 and has always been more of a winger than a striker even if he was serviceable up front next to Denis Bouanga and Cristian Olivera. Another point to note is that even though many might think that LAFC could be going backward with a striker that’s older than the out-of-contract Vela, Giroud has still managed an impressive 13 goals and eight assists in 30 appearances for Milan this term.

Giroud’s addition also means that Mateusz Bogusz can return to his preferred role in the midfield and that head coach Steve Cherundolo won’t have to rely on Bouanga scoring the bulk of the team’s goals. In 2023, Bouanga took home the Golden Boot award with 20 goals scored in the regular season (or 37% of LAFC’s 54 goals in 2023), but with Vela’s nine goals now out of the picture, the team’s second-highest goalscorer is full-back Ryan Hollingshead with seven goals — which isn’t exactly ideal.

Olivier Giroud, Hugo LlorisOlivier Giroud, Hugo Lloris

Giroud and Lloris will link-up at the club level / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

LAFC weren’t exactly short of players with winning experience, but Giroud will fit right in with the team’s goals of regularly competing in finals and aiming to bring home silverware. Since their first season in MLS back 2018, the Western Conference side have lifted one MLS Cup, one Campeones Cup and two Supporters’ Shields — while also reaching two Concacaf Champions Cup finals.

Along with scoring plenty of goals, Giroud has also played his part in lifting numerous trophies in his extensive career. The former Chelsea and Arsenal figure has lifted four FA Cups, one Europa Leauge and Champions League title, one Serie A title and of course, the 2018 World Cup title with France. When Giroud’s winning mentality combines with players like Bouanga and Ilie Sanchez who are itching to win more trophies, it will only push LAFC on to reaching more finals with their new target man up front.

Giroud is now the latest veteran to make the switch to MLS from Europe while the league has also prioritized young, emerging talent in recent years to form a unique combination of players among squads. The likes of Giroud, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Emil Forsberg, Gareth Bale and Lloris have all moved across the pond to get a taste of what MLS offers.

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