Didier Deschamps might be planning for life after Olivier Giroud, even if he doesn’t really want to.
Speaking after France’s 1-0 victory over Portugal thanks to an N’Golo Kanté goal, Deschamps talked about how Giroud needs to change his present situation at Chelsea if the striker has aspirations to remains part of the France squad, let alone start for Les Bleus as we start heading towards Euro 2020 in the summer.
“I make the choices that seem best to me for the France team. With Anthony [Martial] who is a good player, it allows us to have a little more depth.
“Compared to Olivier, he has to be impacted. First of all with the situation he has at [Chelsea], knowing that he has a large frame and that he needs rhythm, it’s hard. That’s not why I want to lose him, it’s complicated, we’ll talk, but obviously he has every interest in it not lasting, for him, to remain competitive, but we must not forget what he did with us and what he is still able to do.
“Anthony has a different profile but one that gives options. Anthony, today, is more fulfilled and in better physical and psychological conditions, obviously.”
-Didier Deschamps; source: Metro
Giroud has just 154 minutes across all competitions in the first two months of the season, though that’s hardly a surprising, given Chelsea’s abundance of riches at the striker spot. And while at the end of last season, the 34-year-old had managed claim the starting spot ahead of the much younger Tammy Abraham, this season is proving to be a different story.
The arrival of Timo Werner was always going to shift every striker at the club down a spot but Abraham’s much-improved link up play (5 assists to his name already, compared to 6 he had all last year) has made Giroud’s path into the starting XI much more difficult.
Giroud’s historic impact at Chelsea and for France is not under question. After all, he is France’s second highest goalscorer of all-time with 42, trailing only Thierry Henry (51), and scoring at about the same rate (0.4/game). And he has also scored plenty of crucial goals for Chelsea, whether they be his brace off the bench after Chelsea were down 2-0 against Southampton or his run of 5 goals in 6 matches at the end of last season, which helped Chelsea qualify for Champions League.
However, as things stand, Giroud will not get the consistent run of starts that he enjoyed in the second half of last season.
Timo Werner’s 2020/21 season so far...— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) November 15, 2020
He’s also now scored in 5 consecutive games for club and country - scoring 7 goals in that time.
So, it’s one again in Giroud’s best interest to potentially leave Chelsea in January.
The situation is practically the same as last season, though it’s unlikely to play out the same way again — we have more (good) options at striker now, after all. This time, Giroud might actually leave, depriving us of his experience and leadership and potentially crucial goals. That wouldn’t be ideal, but neither would it be to force him to stay against his will.