Chelsea are preparing to activate a clause that will allow them to extend Olivier Giroud’s contract by a year and stop the striker leaving on a free transfer this summer.
While the France international could yet push for a move away from Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have decided to maintain his value amid rising uncertainty about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the transfer market. Giroud’s current deal runs out on 30 June and he has been linked with Internazionale, who have maintained their interest in the 33-year-old after missing out on signing him in January.
The former Arsenal striker’s frustration with his lack of playing time almost culminated in him leaving Chelsea during the winter transfer window, only for the west Londoners to block his hopes of a reunion with Antonio Conte at Inter. Lazio and Tottenham also showed interest in the French World Cup winner but Frank Lampard decided that he could not sanction a sale after failing to land any of his forward targets in January.
Giroud spent the early part of Lampard’s reign kicking his heels on the sidelines. Tammy Abraham was Lampard’s first choice to lead the line and Chelsea’s manager often chose to use Michy Batshuayi off the bench instead of Giroud.
However, the situation changed when Abraham suffered an ankle injury against Arsenal in January. Giroud remained professional, working hard in training, and he managed to work his way back into Lampard’s plans. Fine goals in excellent home wins over Everton and Spurs were richly deserved rewards for his efforts on the training ground.
The possibility remains that Chelsea could still sell Giroud if they receive a lucrative offer for him. However, there is no date set for the resumption of the season and recruitment plans are up in the air because of the coronavirus crisis. With that in mind, Chelsea have recognised the value of protecting their asset.
Chelsea are also close to reaching an agreement with their players over a 10% pay cut. Lampard is also understood to be happy to reduce his salary.