When the Internationals come around and the players link up with their respective countries, which leads to press interviews, it is amazing what comes out in these interviews (often later blamed on misquotes or misinterpretation).
The latest transfer rumour surrounds Chelsea striker, Olivier Giroud, who is currently ‘away’ with France and as is always the case, was asked about his Chelsea future.
Giroud is currently out of contract at the end of the season, having moved to Chelsea, from Arsenal, during the Antonio Conte reign. One suspects this was a way to placate the then manager, who had failed to land primary target, Romelu Lukaku, and decided to let the world know just how unhappy he was with that.
So Giroud arrived in South West London, with the tag, of being an impact substitute and promptly was compartmentalised into that role by Conte, who at that time had grown tired of Diego Costa’s antics and wanted a goalscorer.
Since Giroud arrived in the Premier League under the tuition of Arsene Wenger, no less, his stats as a striker make for interesting reading.
Starting with Arsenal, In his almost 5 years there he averaged around 25 games a season, with 2015/16 being his busiest year of which he played 38 games, averaging around 12 goals a season, which for a striker, is by any stretch of the imagination, a fairly poor return.
His move to Chelsea brought little change in those stats, though he has been used mainly as a substitute, or rather insultingly omitted altogether, with new Chelsea boss Maurizzio Sarri preferring to play Eden Hazard in the ridiculously named ‘false nine’ position.
Everything changes (no, not the Take That song) when you look at Giroud’s record in Europe, both for club and country since his arrival in the Premiership.
Arsenal: Europa League, 6 appearances, 3 Goals
Chelsea: Europa League, 9 Matches, 9 Goals
When it come to International matches, then the stats make even more interesting reading.
France: Euros 2016, 6 matches, 3 goals and 2 assists
2016/17 World Cup Qualifiers , 8 matches, 4 goals and 1 assist
2014 World Cup: 5 matches, 1 goal, 1 Assist
2018 World Cup: 7 Matches, 1 Assist
2019/20 Euro Qualifiers: 1 game, 1 goal
What stands out consistently through Giroud’s career, is that he is more than just a striker, but a very effective player who can hold the ball up for others to score goals, which is why Eden Hazard enjoys playing with him so much.
So why the link to Lyon? Or Olympique Lyonnais as they are more officially named.
Currently the club sit 3rd in French Ligue 1 and in terms of stature, are the club many French footballers long to play for.
It’s noted that though Giroud says he is open to the possibility of a move to Lyon, he was quick to point out that it was not a come and get me plea, because he says he is happy at Chelsea and it is well known that the Premier League is the world’s best league at this time and Giroud is hoping to force his way into Maurizzio Sarri’s thinking. However, given the Italian’s reputation for stubbornness and lack of adaptation in his system, could prove quite an undertaking, so don’t be too surprised if Giroud does make the move back to Lyon.