Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has insisted that he wants veteran striker Olivier Giroud to stay at Stamford Bridge beyond January because he is an ‘important’ player, although he also hinted the club is unlikely to stand in the Frenchman’s way if he wants to go.
Giroud was in a similar position this time last year until a sudden run in the team in the second half of the season saw him score eight goals in Chelsea’s final 12 Premier League games – seven of which ended in victories for Lampard’s team.
However, the summer arrivals of attacking players like Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, in addition to existing competition for places from Tammy Abraham, has pushed Giroud back down the pecking order. As a result, he has played just 36 minutes in the Premier League in 2020/21.
It was reported on Monday that the Blues are willing to let the forward leave in January as a sign of gratitude for his service, rather than standing in the way of his Euro 2020 selection chances.
“I do have plans for Oli, he is very important in our squad. He was very important last year, he played a lot of games and made a lot of starts. He’ll always want to play more but he’s a huge member of the squad… I want Oli to be here and to stay,” Lampard is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.
“I have a very good relationship with Oli and if ever he felt that it was going to go a different way, then I would happily have that conversation with him. But I want him to stay here. I’m open both ways if that ever changes but at the moment, he is very important for us.”
The player spoke on the scenario himself in a recent interview with L'Equipe, saying: "I thought at the start of the season that I could still help the team [Chelsea] but my playing time is reduced a lot.
"It's worrying because I felt that I still had a role to play in this team, especially after having had a good end of the season and having contributed to qualification in the Champions League.
"I am lucid about my situation. I know what it is, we have discussed it again. I will have to make a decision in January."
Giroud’s agent, Michael Manuello, declared last week that his client has been treated unfairly by Chelsea in light of his decisive contributions last season. His comments were not actively pushing for a transfer but conceded it may be necessary if things don’t change by January.
Giroud has also been warned by France coach Didier Deschamps ahead of the postponed Euro 2020 in summer that he needs to be playing more at club level. That is despite the 34-year-old being genuinely undroppable for Les Bleus since his debut way back in 2011 – he has only ever been omitted from squads over the last nine years on the rare occasions he has been injured.
Source : 90min