Chelsea are at risk of losing a valuable squad member after Olivier Giroud reportedly agreed personal terms to join Juventus.
The Blues extended the 33-year-old’s contract this summer, which means they get to keep him for another year.
The second half of last season was a remarkable turnaround for Giroud.
He was close to leaving Stamford Bridge in January after struggling to get into the team before becoming a crucial part of Frank Lampard’s plans; even to the point that he was ahead of Tammy Abraham in the pecking order after the Premier League restart.
But now Chelsea have a new No.9 in Timo Werner – a young, prolific goal-scorer who managed 28 goals and eight assists in just 34 Bundesliga appearances last season.
The Germany international could and would threaten Giroud’s spot.
The 2018 World Cup winner argued that, although he knows his new teammate did not come to sit on the bench, he and Werner are different types of players.
“I am not naive. The club recruited Timo Werner to play, but we don’t have the same profile,” Giroud told the media last week (via Goal).
“If it had been a striker with the same profile, I would have been more worried.”
However, if another club came and offered him more game time, particularly with next year’s Euros on the horizon, you could not blame Giroud if he said yes.
Reported personal agreement between Giroud and Juventus
Juventus have knocked on the door and Giroud has agreed in principle, according to a report from Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, although he also mentions several other strikers on their shortlist including Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and Roma’s Edin Dzeko.
The report detailed that Juventus have offered Giroud a two-year contract worth €4.5million (£4.15m)-a-year, and Chelsea could ask for a €5m (£4.6m) transfer fee – a relatively small fee for such an important and experienced figure.
Would Chelsea need to sign another striker if Giroud left? Possibly, but probably not, even after Michy Batshuayi’s loan exit to Crystal Palace.
Another summer signing, Kai Havertz, is capable of playing as a No.9; even Lampard considers him as an option for that position.
However, while Werner would often rely on space to run into with his remarkable pace, Havertz and Abraham would need players around them to capitalise on their great positioning inside the box.
Giroud could help in difficult situations where the only way to get out of the defensive third is kicking the ball to the halfway line. Not to mention the experience he brings to the young Chelsea squad.
Giroud has been nothing but professional, even during last season’s rough patches but, from Chelsea’s standpoint, and perhaps for selfish reasons, he should stay.