Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has admitted his lack of playing time this season is “concerning” and that he is likely to be forced to leave the club in January if the situation doesn’t change.
The 34-year-old played a key role as Chelsea secured a top-four Premier League finish last season – scoring eight goals in the final 12 games of their campaign – but has found his opportunities limited following the summer arrival of Timo Werner, with the German and England forward Tammy Abraham preferred in the central striking role by Frank Lampard.
Despite his lack of game time, which amounts to just 36 minutes of Premier League action across four substitute appearances, Giroud has kept his starting place for World Cup holders France, but has been warned by international boss Didier Deschamps that he will need more action ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
Asked whether he was worried by the situation at Chelsea, Giroud told Telefoot: “‘Worried’ is a big word, but it is concerning.
“It’s true that I felt I still had a role to play in this (Chelsea) team, especially after ending last season very well and contributing to the team’s Champions League qualification.
“At the start of the campaign, I thought I could still help the team, but my playing time has gone down significantly, so that will need to change or I’ll have to make a decision.
Giroud was in a similar situation in January and nearly left Chelsea then, with Tottenham, Inter Milan and Lazio all interested in signing the striker.
He played just seven times for the club in the first half of the season but his post-restart performances earned him a contract extension for the 2020-21 campaign.
Giroud played in all three – and started two – of France’s matches during the international break earlier in November and scored twice in their Nations League victory over Sweden on his 105th cap, but Deschamps warned that the situation “cannot drag on forever”.
“I’m clear-headed about it (my situation),” Giroud said.
“I know what the situation is and we (with Deschamps) have spoken about it. I will have to make a decision in January and I hope to make the right one as I have always done.”
Chelsea won 2-0 at Newcastle on Saturday to climb to third in the Premier League table, with Lampard’s side now unbeaten seven league games. They resume their Champions League campaign in France against Rennes on Tuesday, before hosting league leaders Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.