Olivier Giroud’s time at Chelsea looks to be ending after two years, and his time in England could very well be over after seven and a half as well. The 33-year-old has found himself well down the pecking order at Chelsea, and has made just 7 appearances (3 starts) all season, scoring just once, and had himself just about the worst game of his Chelsea career on Saturday.
And yet, throughout, the World Cup-winner has stayed first-choice for France national team boss Didier Deschamps. To ensure that remains the case into next summer’s Euro 2020, Giroud needs minutes. To ensure he gets minutes, he needs to leave Chelsea in January. Since his contract is up at the end of the season anyway, this shouldn’t be too problematic, and could net Chelsea a few million in transfer fees, even.
However, reality may not be as simple as that.
While reports continue to pour in about Chelsea willing to listen to offers — here’s the latest from the Daily Mail — Lampard still wants to explore the idea of keeping him, especially if CAS do not lift the team’s transfer ban. That verdict should be known soon, while, according to the Evening Standard, “showdown talks” with Giroud are apparently planned for the near future as well. Abraham’s recent injury could scare Lampard into pushing for either Giroud to stay or for Chelsea to buy in January, if allowed.
Meanwhile, reports in Italy paint a less positive picture about interest in Giroud’s services than recent reports had lead us to believe, with Fabrizio Romano, reporting for CalcioMercato, claiming that both league-leaders Inter Milan (with former boss Antonio Conte) and in-city rivals AC Milan (who might be eyeing an Ibrahimovic reunion instead) have “other priorities”. Giroud’s also been linked with Borussia Dortmund, while in the summer, he was on the radar of a few French teams. But with Giroud apparently telling his agent to get him out of Dodge, this is hardly the last bit of Meaty French Forehead action we’ll be seeing in this market.
Since arriving from Arsenal in January 2018 as a belated replacement for Diego Costa, Giroud has played 70 matches for us, scoring 19 times, and starting both the 2017-18 FA Cup and the 2018-19 Europa League finals, and winning both. However, he was never able to assert himself as a full-time starter, especially in the Premier League. He did lead our Europa League campaign last season by scoring a Europe-high 11 goals (of Chelsea’s 36 total).
Chelsea had picked up the club-option on Giroud’s contract in the summer, but with the emergence of Tammy Abraham and the return of Michy Batshuayi from loan, he’s found himself on the fringes of the first-team. And there hasn’t been much room to complain about that situation even for Giroud, who has always been a model professional but had voiced his frustrations about losing out on minutes to the likes of Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain,
While his departure could leave Chelsea short of numbers in case of injuries, Lampard has been toying with the idea of utilizing Christian Pulisic as a backup as well. That might be as good a plan C as it gets, especially if, as expected, CAS do not lift the transfer ban.