Frank Lampard enters his second season as manager of Chelsea and comes off an impressive year where he finished in a top four spot in the English Premier League. In doing so, Chelsea qualified for the Champions League for a second straight season and did this with the loss of their star player, Eden Hazard. The Belgian was sold to Real Madrid as he wanted to play under Zinedine Zidane. Additionally, a transfer ban last summer restricted Chelsea from purchasing players and strengthening their squad.
The youth academy finally became a focal point as young touted players such as Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham finally had their chance to showcase their skills. Mount and Abraham each flourished in their first season in the EPL as they scored seven and fifteen goals, respectively. They have continued that trend into their second season and have excelled.
With the transfer ban no longer an issue this season, the summer transfer market was boisterous for Chelsea. The Blues caught many by surprise with their marquee signings as they were able to sign elite players such as Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. To add to the mix, Abraham has started to emerge as an elite striker so Lampard has plenty of options at centre-forward.
So where does this leave Olivier Giroud? The Frenchman signed a one-year deal last season to extend his stay with the Blues but this decision has backfired. He has started in five of their twenty-one matches in all competitions this season and regularly appeared as a substitute. In recent times, he has grown frustrated and has fallen down the pecking order. The forward needs to play more if he is to secure his spot in the Euros for France come June.
Giroud has mentioned that he’s grown frustrated and that he will decide on his future come January 2021. Lampard wants the forward to stay, however, Chelsea will not get in the way if he decides to leave. Since arriving from Arsenal, Giroud has helped Chelsea win a FA Cup and the Europa League.
Near the midway point of the season, Mitchy Batshuayi was the backup to Abraham and Giroud was third in line.
Batshuayi’s performances declined back in February and this prompted Lampard to move Giroud behind Abraham. He too was struggling as scoring and his inability to finish started to become an issue. While this compounded midway through the season, this gave Giroud an opportunity to make his mark as the number one choice for his manager.
Although Abraham recovered from injuries before Project Restart, he faltered down the latter part of the season as he scored twice in their final 13 appearances (between the EPL and FA Cup).
Rumoured to be joining clubs such as Inter Milan, Lazio and Tottenham Hotspurs last January, this never materialized as the Frenchman stayed with Chelsea for the remainder of the season. Had he left, Lampard’s options would have been Abraham and Batshuayi and, with the latter no longer part of his plans, he couldn’t afford to lose Giroud without a sufficient replacement. In April, Giroud renewed his contract and decided to stay an additional season with the Blues.
While Giroud wasn’t a starter last season, he still showed determination when Lampard called upon him to enter as a substitute. The Frenchman proved himself and was inserted in the staring lineup when the season re-started. He provided stability up front and scored eight goals in thirteen EPL matches and one goal in the FA Cup Semi-Finals.
Fast forward to this season and Giroud found himself in a situation he didn’t want to be in. He was in a lesser role with Chelsea now that Havertz and Werner joined the club. Along with the emergence of Abraham, the Frenchman had every reason to leave the club. In recent times, that hasn’t been the case as Werner, Havertz and Abraham are struggling as they’ve been in poor form.
He wants to secure his spot in the upcoming Euros with France and also play regularly. That may be a possibility as the Frenchman is having another good season with the Blues. He has scored eight goals in fourteen games across all competitions and is on pace to surpass his numbers from last season.
Earlier this season, Giroud played a meaningful part in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Stade Rennais F.C. in the Champions League as he scored the winner in the dying moments. A great moment for the Frenchman and the Blues which shows the kind of player they have, yet he will need a more significant role with the club if he is to stay.
“I think everybody feels from the outside what a great professional [Giroud] is and how highly regarded he is by his teammates and by myself,” said Lampard.
“And for him to get a goal, you’ve seen the reaction of his teammates, he’s so professional in how he trains and looks after himself that age isn’t even a factor.
“Even though he doesn’t play all the time,” he continued.
“I hope and I think he knows that I’m happy with him and how much I rely on him.”
His time with the Blues will always be remembered for scoring pivotal goals and helping them win two important trophies. Chelsea have gone in a new direction with young talented players that will become the future of this club. Yet, if Werner’s struggles persist and Lampard continues to be reluctant to use Havertz as a number nine, this will leave him with just Abraham.
Lampard wants Giroud to stay so what looked like a bad situation may have changed its course for the Frenchman to reconsider leaving. However, if he is to leave, let’s take a moment to be thankful and grateful for his time with Chelsea. He arrived to Chelsea leaving with trophies, scoring pivotal goals and becoming a Blue’s player to remember and love.
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