Most 34-year old footballers want a place to settle and enjoy the last years of their career on “cruise mode”, getting those last paychecks to turn into more real estate investments. But that is not how Olivier Giroud operates.
The veteran centre forward wants to keep his place in the French national team ahead for Euro 2020 this summer, but to do so, he needs playing time as manager Didier Deschamps warned earlier this month. Fortunately for Giroud, Chelsea are “sympathetic” to his current situation, and according to the Athletic, are willing to let him go in January without sorting a replacement.
Frank Lampard just about confirmed this in his pre-match press conference as well, though the head coach will obviously try to convince Oli to stay, above all else. Lampard may not be giving many minutes to him, but the big man is a big presence in the dressing room and his loss would be a big loss.
“Oli is a very important member of our squad. He played a lot of games last year, he will always want to play more, and he is a huge member of the squad for me. I know he will be important for us going forward so I want Oli to be here and to stay.
“I have a very good relationship with Oli and if ever he felt it was going to go a different way I would happily have that conversation with him. But I want him to stay here.
“There is competition in the forward areas at Chelsea. Everyone has to take that one. I saw Oli’s agent’s quotes and I thought nothing of them. Oli and I have very open conversations. He wants to play. When he doesn’t play he is an incredible support for the other players. He trains brilliantly no matter what. We will cross that January bridge when it comes, but my thought has to be the strength of our squad.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
At the end of the day, letting Giroud make his own decision and allowing him to join whomever he wants would be the proper way to treat this situation. He’s given his all to the Blue shirt, starting the FA Cup final in 2018, leading our efforts to bring the Europa League trophy back to Stamford Bridge in 2019, and was vital to our Champions League qualification in 2020 with six Premier League goals during Project Restart.
He’s been a model professional and an example of the kind of commitment that we expect from any Chelsea player.