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Olivier Giroud believes “God wanted him to stay at Chelsea” after the France striker committed his future to the Blues.

Starved of opportunities in the first half of the season, Giroud appeared set to leave the club in January in hope of keeping his place in Didier Deschamps’ squad for Euro 2020.

But after an impact off the bench in a defeat to Manchester United, the 33-year-old went on to impress in the following weeks before the Premier League was suspended on 13 March due to coronavirus.

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Giroud started the last five matches for Frank Lampard and scored in the home wins against Tottenham and Everton, which was enough to earn a contract extension until the end of next season.

And Giroud believes divine intervention ensured his future remained in south west London.

“I was supposed to leave in the January transfer window because I wasn’t playing much and I needed more game time to make the France squad for Euro 2020,” Giroud told the club’s website.

“I very nearly left the club but I really think that God wanted me to stay at Chelsea. The manager told me that he couldn’t let me leave because he didn’t have anyone to replace me. Everyone knows what happened so I won’t go back over it but the coach spoke to me privately and told me that he’d give more games.

“He kept his word and what then mattered to me was proving to him that he could count on me when I was called upon. I simply seized my opportunity and I repaid the faith that the manager had shown in me.

“That’s why the club ultimately offered me the chance to continue my time at Chelsea and I accepted immediately because I like it here. I want to keep winning trophies and I want to continue to show the manager that he can count on me.

“Plus, with the whole coronavirus lockdown situation, I didn’t really feel comfortable with the idea of moving abroad and uprooting my family. I think a lot about our quality of life and we have a great setup here. I think a lot about my family now.”

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