Olivier Giroud has opened up on his desire to repay the ‘faith’ of Frank Lampard at Chelsea after being denied a move away from the club in the January transfer window.
The France international was strongly linked with a move away from the west London side during the winter window, with the forward keen to secure regular first-team football ahead of what should have been this summer’s European Championships.
Inter Milan and Tottenham were reportedly interested in his services, though Giroud was denied an exit and since made a return to the fold, impressing as the focal point of Lampard’s side and scoring in victories over Spurs and Everton before the Premier League‘s suspension.
The 33-year-old has now opened up on how he ‘very nearly left the club’ earlier this year, and how he was desperate to prove himself following Lampard’s promise to give him additional playing time.
“I was supposed to leave in the January transfer window because I wasn’t playing much and I needed more game time to make the France squad for Euro 2020,” he told Chelseafc.com. “I very nearly left the club but I really think that God wanted me to stay at Chelsea.
“The manager told me that he couldn’t let me leave because he didn’t have anyone to replace me. Everyone knows what happened so I won’t go back over it but the coach spoke to me privately and told me that he’d give more games.
“He kept his word and what then mattered to me was proving to him that he could count on me when I was called upon.”
Giroud has since signed an extension to his contract at the club and believes he ‘seized’ his opportunity after returning to the fold, recalling his goalscoring performances in the league victories over Spurs and Everton at Stamford Bridge.
“I came off the bench and scored in my first game against Manchester United,” he recalled. “The goal was ruled out because half of my foot was offside. In the next game, we were up against Tottenham, one of our main challengers for a Champions League place. I played and I scored. I kept my place in the side and then I found the net again against Everton.
“I simply seized my opportunity and I repaid the faith that the manager had shown in me. That’s why the club ultimately offered me the chance to continue my time at Chelsea and I accepted immediately because I like it here. I want to keep winning trophies and I want to continue to show the manager that he can count on me.
“Plus, with the whole coronavirus lockdown situation, I didn’t really feel comfortable with the idea of moving abroad and uprooting my family. I think a lot about our quality of life and we have a great setup here. I think a lot about my family now.”