Olivier Giroud does not know what his future holds, but his present sure looks sunnier than it did just a couple months ago.
The 33-year-old veteran has not shied away from making it clear that he very much wanted to leave in January and how not being able to do so wasn’t exactly cool, but he’s also been quite clear that he’s going to give it his all now that he’s here for the rest of the season, especially after head coach Frank Lampard has made good on his promise to get the World Cup-winner some (more) minutes.
Yesterday, he started his fifth match in a row in all competitions and scored for the second time in the last three league games, earning praise from his manager and pundits alike once again.
The mood change has led to suggestions that Giroud could actually extend his contract with Chelsea for one more season (no club option this year unlike last summer), a suggestion that he has certainly not denied. Last night, he once again confirmed that he is willing to at least consider the possibility, if not more.
“I’ve been waiting for my chance and the gaffer has given me the opportunity to show my desire and be competitive. I’m determined to do my best to help the team. It’s been five games and I’ve really enjoyed it. I feel really good and I want to bring something more to help us win games.”
“I don’t know [about my Chelsea future]. It’s too early to say but I’m happy here.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: Sky
Giroud’s professionalism was never in doubt of course, but his resurgence has come at a perfect time given all the other injuries in the team, including the ongoing ankle problem for Tammy Abraham. Obviously, Giroud is going to play very differently from Abraham, but the team have adjusted well as Lampard has shifted some of the usual attacking patterns to utilize the big man’s strength, aerial prowess, and ability to bring runners into play.
“When you have Oli and know his attributes and work around that. His selfless self, he gets the goal and his qualities. Then you must have runners with energy and players around him getting the most out of it and sticking balls in the box. He is playing really well.
“He’s been fantastic in the dressing room. He was brilliant in the dressing-room in January when it was difficult and we didn’t know where he was going. I am have complete respect for him for that. Now he’s playing well on the pitch and he’s a personality. We need that.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Chelsea have lost just three times since Boxing Day (7-4-3 in all competitions) and while results could certainly have been better, the team looks to be slowly working out of the winter wobble. If we are to continue that into the final three months of the season, Giroud will probably have to play a big part — even if Abraham does manage to return soon and get back to his best.
For Oli, the motivation will of course include earning a spot at Euro 2020 (assuming it goes ahead as scheduled), which was also the primary motivator for wanting to leave in January.
“It’s not me who will take the decision [to pick the France squad]. But if I play more and I am helping the team then I think I have a good chance to go.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: Sky
A win-win situation, hopefully.