Chelsea have today confirmed that French international Olivier Giroud is to stay at the club beyond the expiry of his current contract at the end of this month.
That is because the Blues, who are no doubt still celebrating last weekend’s UEFA Champions League final triumph against Manchester City, have announced that they exercised the option to extend the former Arsenal striker’s contract by a further year back in April.
However, Giroud has now committed his future to the club, with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia confirming that the Blues were left with no choice but to activate the clause within his contract to keep hold of him for an additional 12 months.
She said: “Olivier has been such a crucial part of so many big moments for this club, from his contribution to our FA Cup victory in 2018 to scoring 11 goals on the way to winning the Europa League in 2019.
“He has continued to score significant goals, and we will never forget his effort against Atletico Madrid on the way to winning the Champions League this season.
“With so much to still to play for, there was only one decision we could make when we exercised the option to extend his contract back in April.”
This news has come as a surprise to many Chelsea supporters, with many anticipating that he would leave the club this summer, with Tuchel putting plans together to bolster his attacking options with the addition of another striker.
But could an exit from Stamford Bridge still be on the cards? In truth, possibly.
Chelsea could have played a very clever and cute tactic in regards to Giroud’s future. By activating the clause in his old deal, the club avoided the risk of losing him for free this summer. Instead, they could now sell him for a fee, even though that could be minimal because of his age.
In recent weeks, Giroud has been closely linked with a move to Italian outfit AC Milan. Even though a new Chelsea contract immediately implies that may be off, it could still possible for the reason outlined above.
And if Milan were to successfully attract the former Arsenal striker to the San Siro, it would receive the seal of approval from Swedish sensation Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Prior to Chelsea announcing Giroud’s new deal, Ibrahimovic told Gazzetta dello Sport: “The more high-level players we can sign, the better.
“[Olivier] Giroud has great experience and we don’t have many players who have won trophies.
“If he comes he is welcome. Also because this is a very helpful group, willing to learn and improve, a well-guided group.”
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If a player of Ibrahimovic’s stature within the game is hoping Milan can sign Giroud, it speaks volumes about the qualities the Chelsea striker could take to the San Siro.
Interestingly, since Chelsea confirmed Giroud’s stay and Ibrahimovic made the above statement, the Frenchman’s representatives, according to reports in Italy, have released a statement, confirming that he will be allowed to leave if an offer from abroad comes Chelsea’s way.
“Chelsea exercised a unilateral option, but with the promise he’d be released if there was an offer from a foreign club,” the statement from Giroud’s entourage said.