Football Features

Olivier Giroud: What is Chelsea striker’s best option as he bids to keep Euro 2020 place?

By Harry Edwards

Published: 12:53, 7 January 2020

While many at Chelsea will be hoping for some incoming signings this January after the club’s transfer ban was reduced, the Blues could also face some outgoings.

One Chelsea player regularly being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge is French striker Olivier Giroud.

The 33-year-old has played just seven times across all competitions this season, amassing a total of 282 minutes, and has not featured since the end of November.

Despite his time out of the Chelsea team, Giroud has been a constant in Didier Deschamps’ France side and will undoubtedly be keen to keep his place for this summer’s European Championships.

But in order to give himself the best chance of making the squad while also keeping match-fit, Giroud needs to be playing regular football and that is unlikely to come at Chelsea with Frank Lampard often putting his faith in Tammy Abraham as their starting striker.

Giroud is also behind Michy Batshuayi in the pecking order and, with Chelsea reportedly looking for a new striker this month, Giroud’s chances of playing appear to be getting slimmer.

Speaking after Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday, in which Giroud was an unused substitute, Lampard admitted the Frenchman could be on his way out.

“There’s no update on Ollie, but I’ve spoken with him,” he told reporters. “If the conditions are that it’s something he really wants to do and it works for the club, for me and the squad then it’s something that could happen.

“But only when all of those bases are covered. So we’ll see if we’re there.”

If Giroud does end up leaving Chelsea for pastures new, where will he go? We’ve taken a look at some of the forward’s potential options….

Dream: Arsenal

In January of 2018 Giroud made the switch across London from Arsenal to Chelsea due to frustration with a lack of playing time. But could a reverse be on the cards two years later for the same reason?

When Giroud left Arsenal he had been playing second fiddle to Alexandre Lacazette in the Premier League having also done the same for Alexis Sanchez the previous season, despite the latter not being a recognised striker.

The 2017/18 campaign at Arsenal saw Giroud left with the crumbs of the Europa League and Carabao Cup, not enough playing time for a striker looking to feature in the World Cup at the end of that season.

So he moved to Chelsea, a deal which allowed Batshuayi to join Borussia Dortmund on loan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to replace him at Arsenal. The Gunners, who remain without Champions League football and are in danger of ending the season with no European football whatsoever, may be in the market for a ‘Plan B’ up top.

Although not at the calibre of Aubameyang, Giroud could be a suitable option in terms of what he will bring back to Arsenal’s attack.

The Frenchman spent five-and-a-half years at the Emirates after joining from Montpelier in 2012 and there was genuine sadness among Arsenal fans when their cult hero left. In 253 appearances for the Gunners, Giroud scored 105 goals and helped them win three FA Cups.

Giroud would also be able to help deal with Arsenal’s captaincy problems, as someone who knows the club and what it means to have a connection with the core fans, and provide a good alternative for an out-of-form Lacazette.

Olivier Giroud is 25/1 to sign for Arsenal by 1st February 2020, according to William Hill*.

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Realistic: Aston Villa

If Olivier Giroud wants a guarantee to be a starting striker for the remainder of the season as he keeps his eyes on Euro 2020 then Aston Villa is the perfect choice.

As things stand the Villans have just two first-team strikers to call upon following the long-term injury to Welsey, and unfortunately neither Jonathan Kodjia or Keinan Davis look good enough to replace him. Villa are in desperate need of firepower, as they look to fight for their Premier League safety, currently sitting 17th and just one point above the relegation zone.

Although Giroud is not as dynamic as Wesley in leading the line, the Frenchman could thrive by linking up with the likes of Jack Grealish and Anwar El Ghazi. If Aston Villa want a target man to contest in the air and knock the ball on to teammates, Giroud is the man. If Aston Villa want to be able to play the ball to feet to someone who can hold it up and wait for teammates to catch up, Giroud is the man.

Giroud wouldn’t necessarily get a shedload of goals within Villa’s set up but he wouldn’t necessarily need to with Grealish finding goalscoring form. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to chip in with vital goals as he has done so often in the past for Arsenal and Chelsea, particularly with by getting onto the end of crosses from Villa’s full-backs and set-piece experts.

Aston Villa are the favourites to sign Olivier Giroud (5/2) before the January 2020 transfer window ends, according to William Hill.

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Wildcard: Inter Milan

It’s not just Premier League clubs being linked with a move for Giroud, the Frenchman has also been linked to clubs abroad, including Serie A outfit Inter Milan.

When Giroud moved to Chelsea in 2018 it was Antonio Conte at the helm and, after initially using him as back-up for Alvaro Morata, the Frenchman eventually became the Blues‘ number one striker. Giroud started 10 of his 18 appearances under Conte including the FA Cup final and four of the final five Premier League games of the season, scoring five goals.

Although Inter do have two remarkable strikers this season in Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, it would not do them any harm to have experienced cover in case of injury and rotation. Then there’s the Europa League.

It’s not where they had planned to be at the start of the season but Inter Milan’s quest for European glory will see them attempt to win the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group behind Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. And with Giroud being the king of the Europa League last season, top-scoring with 11 goals en route to winning the trophy, what better signing for Inter to boost their own chances of continental silverware?

Inter Milan are 6/1 to sign Olivier Giroud before 1st February 2020, according to William Hill.

Squawka Suggests: Crystal Palace

If Giroud does want to stay in London but Arsenal don’t come knocking, there is another Premier League club that may be interested in his signature. Unlike Aston Villa, Crystal Palace don’t need a new striker to replace an injured star but they do need someone to score goals.

Only Watford (17) have scored fewer goals than the Eagles (19) in the Premier League this season with Jordan Ayew the club’s top scorer with five. After the Ghanaian comes Wilfried Zaha on three but no other attacking player has managed more than one, with Connor Wickham and Andros Townsend also finding the net.

Christian Benteke continues to struggle in front of goal this season and is yet to find the net. The Belgian has even been linked with a return to Aston Villa to replace Wesley – if Giroud doesn’t beat him to it, of course.

So Giroud could be the man to replace – or overtake – Benteke at Selhurst Park and it may not be a bad decision. The Frenchman has 78 goals in 225 Premier League appearances for Arsenal and Chelsea, coming at an average of one every 165 minutes. For a club struggling to find goals, this return would be good enough to bring positive changes as Palace look to move up the table away from the relegation zone.

It also wouldn’t be too much of a change in style with Giroud capable of holding the ball up for the wide players. Zaha in particular would be well placed to thrive alongside the Frenchman as Eden Hazard did under Conte and Maurizio Sarri.

However, there is also the possibility of Chelsea using Giroud to sweeten a potential move for Zaha, although Roy Hodgson remains adamant that Palace will not be selling their star man.

Olivier Giroud is 3/1 to join Crystal Palace before 1st February 2020, according to William Hill.