In recent weeks, Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud has been the subject of interest from Inter and the Nerazzurri are now contemplating a move for the France international.
The aim would be to bring in the striker as a backup to Romelu Lukaku and Conte has reportedly identified the 33-year-old as a perfect fit.
A report by L’Equipe (via Calciomercato) initially claimed that Inter’s chances of signing the World Cup winner were very slim as Chelsea are in no hurry to sell the striker considering they can unilaterally extend Giroud’s contract for another 12 months.
However, in the wake of Conte’s recent comments after the Dortmund loss, it could appear Inter might go in for the deal again after Conte said his team lacks major squad depth.
The Inter boss criticized the depth of his squad and suggested the players at his disposal lack the strength of character and know-how to win trophies following their 3-2 defeat by Borussia Dortmund this week.
‘We have too limited a squad to face both Serie A and Champions League football this season. I mean limited in terms of numbers and quality,’ Conte was quoted by the Daily Mail.
And now, according to a more recent report by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter are believed to be back in for the 22-year-old and discussions are even taking place already.
Does a move for Giroud to Inter make sense?
Quite frankly, a move to Inter will make sense for both player and club. New Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has gone in hard of developing youth this term. A scenario which has seen 22-year-old Tammy Abraham become their first striker and has seen Giroud fall down to third striker option behind Michy Batshuayi in the pecking order.
This season, Giroud has only seen six appearances and 211 minutes of football (Transfermarkt) under Lampard and it’s normal he’ll want more game-time in any regard.
He was quoted recently by the Sun saying:
I’m going to fight for my place at Chelsea and we will take stock of the situation in January.“If you ask me whether I want to leave I’ll say ‘not necessarily’ – but other things enter the equation.
“I cannot be happy with what I have at the moment. I am 33 but I still have several good years left in me.
“I still have the legs and a profile that I think will enable me to keep playing at the top level.
“I feel in good shape physically and I lead a healthy lifestyle. I want to enjoy myself and play matches.
“That could be for Chelsea – who are my first choice – or elsewhere.
“But if they force me to make a decision I will do it – just like when I left Arsenal.”
Those comments simply hint at the desire of a man that still wants football at the top level. Lampard has also claimed he still wants Giroud at the club – as quoted by Goal – but actions and incentives say otherwise.
For Conte, it would be an ideal move for his Inter side as he generally likes a big striker who can hold the ball and support it with a good aerial presence as well. Just like Lukaku, Giroud perfectly fits that narrative and it’s easy to see why Conte identified him as the ideal backup. At 33, Giroud would not exactly fight for game-time every week but steady football and a decent amount of minutes would be fine for the France striker.
Not just quality on the pitch but experience pedigree as well. After saying that most of his squad lack “title-winning mentality”, it’s normal any incoming addition subsequently would be one with a huge box of experience. How many more available strikers fit the hat like Giroud does?
A golden boot winner with Montpellier during his time in France, three-time FA Cup winner at Arsenal, Europa League winner at current side Chelsea, Puskas award winner as well as World Cup winner with France. Hence, lots of the Inter players, especially Lukaku, would benefit from the experience Giroud has under his command.
On the international scene, Giroud is a key figure for France and head coach Didier Deschamps recently warned that the forward will need more action of football to be ready for the Euro 2020 competition, which kicks off in June 2020.
“Olivier suffers because of his situation. Before January, nothing will move,” Deschamps said to Sky Sports after France’s recent friendly win over Iceland.
“After, it will be up to him to see. I hope he will have more playing time.
“But we cannot take away his goals, his good performances. He scores, he makes others play well.
Meaning Giroud would not want to lose out for both club and country and would do all he can to more game time. On being a backup to Lukaku, it would help save a lot of stress piled up on the Belgian. Lukaku has already played 1123 minutes of football so far (Transfermarkt) and is very close to a burnout if he continues to play all the time.
Being third in their Champions League group, Inter have only a slight chance of qualifying for the round of 16 and in the event that they can only make the Europa League, Giroud will be ideal to be the striker for that competition while Lukaku focuses on the Serie A where he’s a major contender for the Capocanniere award and continues to help Inter in their charge for the title.
Giroud – whose contract expires at the end of the season, coupled with his desire for more game time means Inter might have a real chance of getting him if a reasonable offer is placed on the cards.
Olivier Giroud will be a typical Antonio Conte signing. One that would benefit both player and club greatly.