September 25, 2021

‘Werner hasn’t been recruited to sit on the bench’ – Giroud embracing extra competition at Chelsea

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The Frenchman is not “naive” enough to think his place in the Blues squad is safe, but he plans to give Frank Lampard selection “headaches” in 2020-21

Olivier Giroud has acknowledged that Timo Werner “hasn’t been recruited to sit on the bench”, but he is embracing the extra competition for places at Chelsea instead of becoming downbeat.

Chelsea announced the £47.5 million ($59m) signing of Werner from RB Leipzig on June 18, as they won the race for his services ahead of a whole host of top European clubs.

The Germany international committed to a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge, and will be expected to slot straight into Frank Lampard’s starting line up next season.

Chelsea are hoping that a man who scored an impressive 95 goals in 159 appearances for Leipzig can transfer that prolific form to the Premier League, but his arrival could see Giroud and Tammy Abraham forced into the background.

Abraham finished the season as Chelsea’s top Premier League scorer with 15 goals, while Giroud has scored seven in all competitions since the resumption of the season in June.

The former was Lampard’s first-choice frontman before the coronavirus outbreak stopped play in March, but the Frenchman has led the line over the past two months to help the Blues secure a top-four finish and a place in the FA Cup final.

Although Giroud is aware that regular minutes will be harder to come by after Werner’s arrival, he is confident that he will remain a good option for Lampard due to his ability to hold the ball up in the final third.

The 33-year-old told L’Equipe: “When the teams play a defensive way against us, it’s not bad to have a tall striker like me that can make the link. But I am not naive.

“Werner hasn’t been recruited to sit on the bench. But I will do everything I can to give headaches to the coach when it comes to making his choice.”

Giroud went on to insist that he expected Chelsea to bring in a player of Werner’s calibre, and that he is ready to challenge the German for a coveted role in the team. 

“Werner’s transfer is an additional motivation and it was inevitable that the club recruits a striker,” said the France international. “Chelsea is a great club, that spends money to strengthen the squad, and I was expecting someone to come.”

Giroud added on the possibility of extending his stay in west London beyond 2021: “I still have a year of contract here. If I stay here afterwards, that’s fine. Otherwise, it will be another challenge.

“But I can still play in a good league for two years. I don’t set any limits.”