Many of Olivier Giroud’s career achievements have gone unnoticed. Be it winning the FIFA World Cup with France in 2018 or helping Chelsea win the Europa League last year, the striker has sometimes not got enough credit.
The 33-year-old also helped Arsenal win the FA Cup three times during his stay at the Emirates. He helped the Blues win the same title in his first few months at Stamford Bridge. But he played only four games in the FA Cup that season, scoring twice and assisting twice.
Perhaps, that last part is the most striking. It shows that the man is still a very useful player, when used correctly.
Chelsea have given him only 120 minutes of first-team football this season in the Premier League. But he scored in their only final of the season so far- the UEFA Super Cup final against Liverpool.
His technical ability or pace has obviously never been as good as the younger breed of strikers. While that lets him down, but Giroud’s aerial proficiency has always made him a very effective Plan B for all the teams he has played in. That includes Chelsea.
That is a very fair reflection for Antonio Conte, who did win the FA Cup with Giroud in 2018. And that is why Inter’s recent links with Inter make a load of sense.
The nerazzurri do have a loaded striker armory, as things stand. While Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez are the first-choice players in the 3-5-2, they have three options behind them. The quick Matteo Politano is a back-up to Lautaro. Young Sebastiano Esposito has made four appearances in all competitions too.
Alexis Sanchez was signed on loan from Manchester United and is currently nursing an ankle injury. The Chilean was used alongside Lautaro when Lukaku was struggling with back problems.
But Inter doesn’t really have a striker who is a near like-for-like back-up for Lukaku. Sanchez is quick and hardworking, but not as powerfully build as his former Man Utd teammate. The same goes for the other three striker options that Conte has.
The Italian has always liked to have burly centre-forwards in his teams of the past. He had Giroud and Diego Costa (in the first season) at Chelsea. He had Fernando Llorente at Juventus. All of them did a very good job under Conte.
Giroud knows Conte’s system and style well from their time together at Bridge. So much so that Conte never stopped praising Giroud in his stint at Chelsea.
He once told the Evening Standard:
“For sure, he [Giroud] has been a good signing for us. As you know very well, I needed a player with this characteristic: strong physically, to hold the ball up and allow our No.10 to make combinations with him. “
Giroud is still very much the same player. And Conte’s system at Inter is quite the same, even though he usually played a 3-4-3 shape at Chelsea. It had only one striker upfront, but that striker was to play the role of a target man.
Giroud is 33 and won’t demand first-team football like other established younger strikers. His respect for Conte would make him go the extra mile at Inter.
With the former Montpellier man’s contract running out at the end of the season, Inter can sign him for a very low fee. They will get exactly the sort of striker they need. They will also get the exact profile they need to fill that hole in the side.