Olivier Giroud has endured a particularly trying 2019/20 campaign, as he spent time on the sidelines with Chelsea, failed to secure a transfer away in January, was restored to the line-up and then, along with everyone else, has had his season interrupted.
The French striker has often played a super-sub role over the last few years, but even by those standards he was barely utilised by Frank Lampard until February.
Between the end of August and mid-February, Giroud played just twice in the Premier League, with Tammy Abraham the starter and Michy Batshuayi often preferred as a substitute by his manager.
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It resulted in speculation that he might move on in the winter window, and although teams were keen to take him away from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea would not let him leave without securing a replacement. When that did not happen, Giroud was left with no choice but to remain. Now he has confirmed the three teams who tried to sign him, and that he was closest to teaming up with former boss Antonio Conte.
“Everyone knows that the sporting project of Inter Milan was the most interesting for me,” Giroud said to Telefoot.
“Lazio and Tottenham also looked for me. At one point, it was a question of where I wanted to go to play. I spoke to Conte on the phone.”
Since the failed move, though, Giroud returned to Chelsea’s line-up after injuries to his attacking team-mates.
Goals against Spurs and Everton helped kick-start the Blues’ top-four aspirations, which had stuttered in the weeks prior, as he made appearances in four successive league games plus the Champions League round-of-16 first leg against Bayern Munich, before the season was halted due to the spread of coronavirus.
Being back in action means Giroud remains open to staying at Chelsea, though says he will take no decision on what to do when his contract ends this summer until the campaign is finished off properly.
“Yes, yes of course [I would consider staying].
“There are a few months to go, games to win and maybe another trophy, and after, you know, I think I have two [or] three nice seasons in front of me.
“It’s not the time to talk about contracts and everything, but I will make a decision when it comes.”
Giroud scored over 100 goals for Arsenal before joining Chelsea in January 2018.
Inter and Tottenham have both been linked with fresh moves for the veteran forward in the summer – or whenever the conclusion of the current season allows.