In an effort to sort out Chelsea’s recent goal-scoring issues, Maurizio Sarri has tried deploying Alvaro Morata, Olivier Giroud, and even Eden Hazard at center forward. So far, none have offered a consistent solution. The latest potential fix is Sarri’s former record-setting striker at Napoli, Gonzalo Higuaín, on loan from Juventus.
To accommodate Higuaín, Chelsea let go of Álvaro Morata (who wanted out anyway). But depending on how Higuaín does the rest of this season, he could be staying around for next year as well, which probably doesn’t bode well for the future Chelsea prospects of Olivier Giroud either, who’s even older than the new arrival, and is in the final six months of his contract.
Speaking to Canal Football Club on French television shortly before the Higuaín signing was confirmed, Giroud revealed his clear-eyed appraisal of the situation.
“If the club decides to get another striker, like Higuaín, it will certainly darken my future at Chelsea.”
“I’ve never said no to a return to France. Lyon and Marseille are two great clubs. My priority is to stay in the Premier League though.”
@_OlivierGiroud_ pour le #CFC : "Marseille, Lyon, ce sont deux grands clubs. Je n'ai jamais exclu un retour en France. J'ai dit à l'époque que ma priorité était de rester en Premier League, ça l'est toujours. À voir..." pic.twitter.com/5GE9p4HfVc— Canal Football Club (@CanalFootClub) January 27, 2019
Giroud is still a valuable option though, adding a solid and powerful dimension to the attack with plenty of assists (including on Sunday night), but also a worrying lack of goals (including on Sunday night). There is apparently a one-year extension on his contract that can be triggered by the club, but he knows that at the end of the day, it’s end product that’s easiest way to judge a striker.
“I will never make people unanimously satisfied with me. There is a little part of regret and frustration. The public expects a goalscorer to score goals. I’m the fourth best goalscorer of French (national team) football and nobody can take that away from me.”
-Olivier Giroud; Source: Canal+ via Goal
Chelsea will undoubtedly have to revisit the striker issue in the summer with two players well over 30 leading the attack at the moment, Morata essentially gone, and Abraham impressing on loan. Giroud has been nothing but a model professional since joining from Arsenal twelve months ago and could certainly continue to provide veteran leadership and backup minutes from the bench.