Olivier Giroud wants Premier League spot at Chelsea after European hat-trick

Dominic Fifield on 15 March 2019

Olivier Giroud has not given up hope of regaining a place in Chelsea’s Premier League team on the back of prolific form in European competition as the World Cup winner seeks to extend his stay for a further year.

The Frenchman’s perfect hat-trick in Thursday’s 5-0 thrashing of Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine established him as the leading scorer in this season’s Europa League, with nine goals in as many games. Yet the 32-year-old, an £18m signing from Arsenal in January 2018, has played only 56 minutes of top-flight football this calendar year and has not started since late December.

Giroud signed an 18-month contract but there is an option for Chelsea to extend his stay by a year. That could be pursued given the possibility of Fifa’s two-window transfer ban coming into effect this summer, with the player unwilling to accept life as a bit-part player and adamant he can gain regular Premier League football.

Asked whether he would accept life as a substitute at Chelsea, Giroud said: “No chance. I’m a competitor and I want to play every single game and to be happy on the pitch. I have been through a lot of tough moments in my career. I just want to enjoy playing my football after winning the World Cup last summer. I want to take maximum pleasure on the pitch. That’s why when I play I try to enjoy the game as much as I can.

“I am not picking the team, the manager makes some choices. I play in the Europa League and I am happy to help the team to go through the stages step by step. The target is clearly to win it. The Premier League is another thing. I’m 32 but I’m still young. I feel very well physically. When I do the tests on the treadmill I have to say I have one of the best tests [at the club]. Physically I feel very good.”

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Giroud, who has made only 12 Premier League starts since arriving at Stamford Bridge, had been competing with Álvaro Morata for the lone striker role over the first half of the season but, with the Spaniard loaned to Atlético Madrid, he must now displace Sarri’s favourite, Gonzalo Higuaín. The Argentinian missed the trip to Ukraine through illness but should be in contention to play at Everton on Sunday.

“I still feel as fresh as when I was in my 20s and I have the motivation to carry on,” said Giroud, whose hat-trick was his first since May 2016. “Some of the boys asked me why I didn’t retire after the World Cup with the national team but I’m still hungry and I know how much I will miss football after my career. I want more and more. I think I have a few nice years in front of me. I don’t know how many but my body will tell me.”

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