After five-and-a-half years at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger granted Giroud his wish and waved him off with warm wishes and a glowing tribute.
He may have been joining arch-rivals Chelsea, but there was no resentment here.
Olivier Giroud is mobbed by team-mates after netting Chelsea’s winner over Rennes
Frank Lampard embraces Chelsea’s match winner after he climbed off the bench last Tuesday
Six months later and Giroud was leading the line as France’s non-goalscoring striker as they surged to their second World Cup triumph in Russia.
Giroud was a regular under Antonio Conte and proved to Didier Deschamps that he was the man he could trust to lead Les Bleus’ assault on global glory once more.
Fast forward nearly three years and Giroud is at a similar crossroads.
Now 34, the World Cup winner remains first choice for his country. Last month he earned his 100th international cap and scored twice against Ukraine to go past Michel Platini into second place in the list of France’s all-time top scorers.
With 44 goals in 105 appearances, he is now behind only Thierry Henry. His haul of 51 looks very reachable, and very surpassable.
But, as in 2018, Giroud remains preoccupied by earning his place in Deschamps’ squad.
Giroud made another late substitute appearance with opportunities at a premium this season
Giroud’s late goal sealed Chelsea’s passage into the last-16 of the Champions League
The delayed European Championship is looming large on the horizon, and with competition in the world champions’ squad fierce, Giroud knows he cannot take his place for granted.
Having been restricted to just five Premier League appearances for Chelsea so far this season – all from the bench – Giroud knows that opportunities are at a premium at Stamford Bridge under Frank Lampard.
He was close to leaving last January, but it looks almost certain that he will depart when the window opens again in five weeks’ time. His former boss Conte has long been linked with offering him a reunion at Inter Milan and that story has resurfaced.
Lampard – echoing Wenger’s sentiments – still thinks highly of the Frenchman and believes he has a part to play in the push for silverware.
Giroud’s powerful header snatched the Blues a 2-1 Champions League win at Rennes, securing safe passage to the last-16 with two matches in Group E still to play, and Lampard admitted it underlined just why he wants him to stay.
Giroud has made just four Premier League appearances this season – all off the bench
He said: ‘Yes, it does, and I’ve felt it first-hand, last year it was him or Tammy (Abraham) fighting for the No 9 spot.
‘Tammy had a great first half of the season, and then Oli in restart was fantastic.
‘And the things behind the scenes, everybody kind of feels from the outside to be fair, what a great professional he is and how highly regarded he is by his team-mates and myself.
‘So for him to get a goal, you saw the reaction of his team-mates, he’s so professional in how he trains and looks after himself that age isn’t even a factor for him.
‘He’s getting better with age if anything in terms of how he looks after himself.
‘So he offers a lot for us and I keep saying it but the big schedule coming up and the way we play means I will rely on players.
‘So thankfully for me he’s a player that always keeps the right attitude if he’s not playing regularly, and I know when I call upon him that he comes in as he did.’
Giroud left Arsenal for Chelsea in 2018 to secure his spot in France’s World Cup squad
Chelsea are willing to let Giroud leave so that he can get his minutes to play at the Euros, and he seems intent on getting his way.
Earlier this month his agent blasted Lampard for ‘unfairly’ picking Abraham ahead of him, and France boss Deschamps hinted that he must force a Chelsea exit by finding ‘another situation’.
Last term Giroud scored eight in times in Chelsea’s last 13 Premier League games to help them secure Champions League qualification. He was the Blues’ Project Restart hero, but now he has gone to being an afterthought.
Staying put does not appear an option. He finds himself behind Timo Werner and Abraham in the pecking order. Letting him go would leave the Blues painfully short in forward areas, with Lampard possessing a wealth of options out wide, in a position that would theoretically help Giroud thrive.
But Lampard has been reluctant to commit to Giroud and the route -one approach that his selection would promote. At present he is just a break glass option, and Giroud wants to be first choice.
Last month Giroud earned his 100th France cap and went second in their scoring charts
David Beckham’s MLS outfit Inter Miami emerged as a suitor this month, but a move to the USA would surely put Giroud even further from Deschamps’ thoughts.
A move to reunite with Conte would make some sense, but Giroud would be no more than a foil for first-choice pairing Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.
It certainly doesn’t seem that a move to the San Siro would represent more first-team football. PSG have also been linked, and though a move to his homeland would prove attractive, he will not get in ahead of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi.
Last week, London rivals Tottenham and West Ham emerged as potential destinations. Giroud has shown he has no qualms with making a move across the capital to another rival team.
Could history be about to repeat itself? West Ham would be a step down in his career, but he would surely be first choice under David Moyes.
At Spurs he would struggle to shift Harry Kane, certainly on current form. But he looks a perfect fit for Jose Mourinho.
A striking alternative for the England captain arrived last month in the shape of Carlos Vinicius, but the Brazilian has started only three games since arriving on loan from Benfica – all in the Europa League.
Giroud is prepared to force through another move to ensure his spot at next summer’s Euros
Giroud would be trusted with more opportunities at Spurs – but would he dare join Chelsea – and Arsenal’s – arch-rivals?
History has shown that Giroud is not afraid of making a difficult decision.
He said about his situation during the international break: ‘It’s worrying. I thought I still had a role to play at Chelsea but my playing time is getting reduced a lot.
‘It’s going to have to change or a decision must be made.
‘I am clear-headed about my situation: I will have to make a decision in January. I hope to make the right one, as I have always done.’
Maybe history is about to repeat itself.