Olivier Giroud moved to within seven goals of Thierry Henry’s all-time France record in Tuesday’s 4-2 Nations League victory over Sweden.
But you get the impression that, for a living Les Bleus legend, his midweek brace would have felt extra special – and not just because it put a place in French football history within his grasp.
Didier Deschamps warned Giroud before the game that, unless he’s playing regular club football during the next few months, even the irreplaceable could be, well… replaced.
The former Arsenal hero was France’s go-to centre-forward during their triumphant World Cup campaign in 2018.
But if 34-year-old Giroud wants to retain that number nine shirt amid competition from Anthony Martial, Marcus Thuram and Wissam Ben Yedder, his situation at club level must change – preferably, as Deschamps said, in January.
Giroud has played just 33 minutes of Premier League football all season at Chelsea. Hardly ideal preparation for a major tournament.
“Deep down there is a bit of disappointment when you give (Tammy) Abraham a chance rather than him,” Giroud’s agent, Michael Manuello, tells FootMercato.“It’s not an ideal situation.
Manuello admits a winter departure from Stamford Bridge is a possibility.
The Guardian reported earlier today that Giroud would be open to joining one of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals and, interestingly, his agent did nothing to play down such speculation.
“Now, a new English club can make him think because the big difference with the Premier League (to other leagues) is it remains an extraordinary championship,” Manuello adds.
“So if a really good Premier League club came along, yes that could (be an option).”
Giroud himself told So Foot that Tottenham Hotspur had come calling earlier in 2020. But, with Carlos Vinicius now providing competition for the red-hot Harry Kane, it’s hard to imagine Giroud swapping one London-based bench for another.
West Ham or Crystal Palace feel, at least on paper, like a more realistic destination for a striker who has spent ten years under the bright lights of the capital (Express).
Giroud is, in many ways, what West Ham want the underwhelming Sebastien Haller to be. The thought of one of the modern game’s great target men powering home a pinpoint Aaron Cresswell cross is the stuff claret-and-blue dreams are made of.
And, in theory, he’d shine too at a Palace side boasting the kind of skilful, probing forwards capable of linking effortlessly with a man Eden Hazard famously labelled the best in the world.
A move to Selhurst Park would have to be a permanent one, however, with Michy Batshuayi already on loan from Chelsea.
However, with Abraham, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz building a bright future in west London, Giroud feels like a man consigned to Chelsea’s past.