Chelsea could let Olivier Giroud leave the club in the upcoming January transfer window, following quotes from the striker from French publication Telefoot (via Sky Sports) surrounding his playing time.
Giroud came to Stamford Bridge in January 2018 from London rivals Arsenal. Since then, he has made 95 appearances for the Blues – largely off the bench – scoring 29 times.
The Frenchman hit form at the right time last season, finding the net in eight of Chelsea’s last 12 league games as they snuck into a Champions League spot.
The striker hoped that this would be enough to secure regular game time for the new campaign. However, this has not materialised, and Giroud now finds himself limited to substitute cameos, playing just 36 Premier League minutes so far this season.
The 34-year-old has commented on his current situation in South West London, labelling it “concerning”. Talking to Telefoot, Giroud said: “Worried is a big word, but it is concerning. It’s true that I felt I still had a role to play in this team, especially after ending last season very well.
“At the start of the campaign, I thought I could still help the team, but my playing time has gone down significantly, so that will need to change or I’ll have to make a decision.”
The former Montpellier man’s current contract runs until the end of the 2020/21 season. Given his age and the presence of much younger options at the club, it is likely that Chelsea will not renew his contract any further. Nonetheless, manager Frank Lampard has insisted that the World Cup winner is important to his plans.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League fixture against Rennes, Lampard stated (via The Metro): “I do have plans to have Oli (Giroud) who is very important in our squad. He was a big member of our squad last year, I think he played a lot of games and made a lot of starts last year.
“He’s a huge member of the squad for me and I know he’ll be important for us going forward so I want Oli to be here and to stay because of the way he’s playing.”
However, Lampard also admitted that he would not stand in the way if the Frenchman wished to depart.
“I have a very good relationship with Oli and if ever he felt that it was going go a different way, then I’d happily have that conversation with him but I want him to stay here and we’ll be very open both ways if that ever changed. At the minute, he’s very important to me.
“This January, we’ll cross that bridge when it comes but my first thought always has to be the strength of our squad.”
Despite his lack of game time at club level, Giroud is proving that he still has plenty to offer on the international stage. In the latest international break, the forward bagged a brace against Sweden in the UEFA Nations League, taking him just seven goals short of Thierry Henry’s record for the French national team.