BY PAUL LAGAN
Olivier Giroud is set to go head to head with Chelsea’s hierarchy in a bid to be released from his contract, as Inter Milan pile on the pressure to sign the 35-year-old hitman.
Giroud, currently playing a bit part for France at the European Championships, wants to sign a two-year deal with the Italian outfit and has already agreed personal terms worth £3.5million a season.
But the Blues are not keen to let him go as they increase their own search to land a proven, young striker for next season to help the misfiring Timo Werner.
Chelsea exercised their right to sign Giroud on for another season in April as their league season hung in the balance and a tilt at the Champions League was on the cards as they did not want any off-the-field-disruptions.
But now Giroud will ask the top brass to release him.
Much depends on whether the Blues can land Erling Haaland.
Real Madrid are serious suitors for the Norway striker, but will baulk at the £150m world record price tag.
It’s believed that Haaland does not want to stay in the Bundesliga, thus eliminating Bayern Munich as a logical choice.
Manchester City’s prime target is Tottenham captain Harry Kane and that would seem to rule them out, leaving the west Londoners as the most likely destination.
Haaland has already agreed personal terms with Chelsea and Real Madrid, so it comes down to a choice between his heart – Madrid, or the most practical from a business point of view – Chelsea.
Giroud is hoping the Blues land Haaland as it will make his exit from Stamford Bridge more palatable for head coach Thomas Tuchel, who knows his side’s shortcomings at the top of the field almost saw them lose fourth place in the Premier league on the last day of the season.
Giroud is still hoping to get more minutes for France and thinks his age is not a factor.
He said: “I’m not finished, far from it. Count on me, grandpa is not dead.
“I’m almost 35 but have the hunger of a 20-year-old guy.
“The France team has a fairly incredible strike force, but I have a card to play because there are not other players with my profile. I am here to respond and bring what I like to bring.
“I know how to do it with this team. I have the desire and, if the young people want to move me out, they will have to be ready too.”
The Blues will play Spurs and Arsenal in a tri-team pre-season tournament. The Blues face Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday, August 1 at 3pm, then Spurs at home on August 4 at 7.45pm.
Chelsea Women start the defence of their WSL campaign on September 3. Fixtures are yet to be announced.
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