Westley makes Stevenage return

Olivier Giroud admits Arsenal must find a way of keeping key men

at the club if they are to compete for top honours.

The Gunners have seen their trophyless run stretched to eight

years, with another campaign having come and gone without

silverware being secured.

Part of the problem for Arsene Wenger over recent seasons has

been an inability to keep his squad intact, with the likes of Cesc

Fabregas and Robin van Persie having departed for fresh challenges


Giroud concedes that Arsenal cannot afford to keep losing

players of that quality if they are to mount a serious bid for

major titles at home and abroad.

The French striker told Sky Sports News HD: “First you need to

keep your best players, that’s so important. After that, maybe you

need more money.

“But Manchester United every year buy one or two players. They

manage to keep their best players, I think that’s the main thing to


Giroud was drafted in by Arsenal last summer in an effort to

fill the void created by Van Persie’s departure to Manchester

United and he claims to be happy with his choice – having come

close to joining German giants Bayern Munich at one stage.

He added: “Munich were not ready to take a decision. I was

really happy to sign for Arsenal.

“Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Sylvain Wiltord,

Emmanuel Petit – there have been a lot of French players, so that’s

why I supported this team.”

The 45-year-old, who led Boro into npower League One with

back-to-back promotions, succeeds Gary Smith as manager after the

former Colorado Rapids boss was relieved of his duties last week

following a poor run of form.

Westley opted to leave Broadhall Way in January last year in an

attempt to further his career at Preston, but his 13-month stay at

Deepdale ended when he was sacked with North End sitting just five

points above the relegation zone.

Stevenage, 10 points above the League One drop zone in 15th

place, host bottom-placed Hartlepool on Monday looking for a first

win in four outings.

Chairman Phil Wallace said: “Graham was keen to come back to

Stevenage and, although I met some strong candidates, without doubt

I think he’s the best man for the job right now. The club enjoyed a

great deal of success before he left last year and we moved

forwards significantly in his time here on several levels.

“Since he left we’ve continued that progress in people and

infrastructure off the pitch. So we spent a lot of time this past

week talking about things we feel we could do better this time

round and we’ve put many of those into our contractual


“There are a lot of myths about Graham and the 9-5 one is the

biggest. Yes, he demands a high work ethic and commitment from his

players but the extra hour or two some may do is spent on personal

development subjects. As long as a lad wants to improve himself and

win medals that’s never been an issue at our club.

“I’m looking forward to some exciting times again! This is the

first time our season has ended in April for four years and that’s

a measure of how far we’ve come and what we’re about.”