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Giroud a coup on and off pitch: Los Angeles FC

Olivier Giroud’s arrival at Los Angeles FC is a coup for the club both on and off the pitch, officials said Tuesday after officially announcing the veteran French striker’s arrival in Major League Soccer.

The 37-year-old World Cup winner will join former France teammate Hugo Lloris in Los Angeles later this season after agreeing to a deal running through the 2025 campaign.

Giroud, France’s all-time top scorer, joins Los Angeles after three successful years with Serie A giants AC Milan. The French striker confirmed his move in a social media post on Monday.

Los Angeles FC general manager John Thorrington told AFP that Giroud, who will begin his MLS career after playing in next month’s Euros with France, was seen as a perfect fit for the club.

“What we saw in Olivier was a somewhat rare combination of abilities in his ability to come off the line, link up play and finish,” Thorrington said.

“He plays in a system with France and at AC Milan that is similar to how we play, so we felt like he was the right fit for a number of those reasons on the field.”

But while Los Angeles hopes Giroud will strengthen their team’s forward line, Thorrington said the Frenchman’s qualities off the pitch were as much a motivation for completing the deal.

“I joke that there’s some players that I would sign even if they didn’t go on the field,” Thorrington said. “Just with what they bring to the locker room and the example they set and the professionalism and hunger to win, despite having won everything he’s won. It’s a real coup for us as a club.”

Thorrington revealed that the club had been made aware of Giroud’s interest in a move to MLS while completing goalkeeper and former France captain Lloris’s transfer to Los Angeles from Tottenham last December.

He said Lloris “sort of gave us a wink-wink” about a message he had received from Giroud expressing interest in a move to MLS.

Having Lloris to vouch for Giroud’s character also helped sway the deal.

“They know each other really well,” Thorrington said of Lloris and Giroud.

“And that allowed me to have a conversation with Hugo to say, ‘What are we getting that I can’t necessarily see?’

“And I think similarly for Olivier in his decision-making to be able to speak to a close friend who has just lived through the transition with family at the club. 

“That enabled us to make a well-informed decision. I didn’t need Hugo to tell me what he’s like as a player on the pitch, but when Hugo’s first words are ‘He’s fantastic for a team,’ that’s affirmation of what we want.”

Thorrington said Giroud could possibly make his debut in MLS in late July, but stressed the Frenchman’s precise start date may hinge on how far France progress at the European Championship in Germany.

“It is amazing for us as a club to know that we’ll have a big player on one of the favorites in the Euros coming to join LAFC soon thereafter,” Thorrington said. 

“It’s going to be a function of how well (France) do as well as how he’s feeling physically. As soon as he is rested and able, he’ll be in position to join the team, and, we think, contribute right away.”

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