Chelsea extending Olivier Giroud somewhat provides a temporary solution

Chelsea will exercise the one-year extension in Olivier Giroud’s contract, which means he’ll be with the club for a few more months but with no real guarantee of the full year.

Only Chelsea could extend their senior striker, one of their few established Premier League veterans, and still come no closer to resolving any issues in the squad. The club will activate their option to extend Olivier Giroud for another year, even though he just started playing consistently this season not long before virus interruptus, but that does not give Giroud nor Chelsea much to plan around.

At the very least, Giroud’s extension will ensure the club start the 2020/21 season with two strikers Frank Lampard is willing to use. Lampard has shown no interest in doing much of anything with Michy Batshuayi, and the summer transfer market is as uncertain as anything else. Players will likely go for much less than they would, but there’s the chance this will be the last high-spending transfer window as clubs try to buy and sell whoever they can before they really feel the pinch of reduced revenues and perhaps abrogated sponsor and media contracts. Chelsea now know that they will at least have Giroud and Tammy Abraham on opening day.

The extension also gives Chelsea two more chances to sell Giroud rather than lose him when his contract expires.

If the Blues are able to buy a striker early in the summer transfer window, they could still sell Giroud before the window opens. And if the Blues are able to buy someone in January, or if someone they buy in the summer proves he and Abraham are enough for the squad, the Blues could sell or loan Giroud to a club looking for an impact player to push them over whatever line for their season.

The move could also be Chelsea pulling out the “dark arts” of football business. Inter Milan, Antonio Conte and Giroud have all been quite open about their interest in a move that would bring them all together. Giroud said he was close to leaving in January but Chelsea would not agree to the deal.

Because Chelsea know where Giroud is almost certain to go next, and how motivated all parties involved are, they may have re-upped him solely to force a fee from Inter.

Giroud’s contract expiration would not have seen him wandering around as a free agent for long. He and Inter have probably been counting down the days until June 30. Now, Inter will get what they wanted a few months ago while Chelsea get what they always want: more than nothing. Chelsea have retaken the upper hand, and will have had the best of both worlds: Giroud when they needed him in 2019/20, unexpected money for him the summer after.

The outside chance remains that Giroud will spend all of next season at Stamford Bridge. If he plays as little as he did in the first half of this season, he would almost certainly submit a transfer request and force a move in January.

In that case, the Blues would have done nothing more than delay losing him for free, which is not really a net gain for the club in any way.

Aside from being a bad example of player-management relations, it would also only come to pass if the Blues were unable to sign another striker in either of the next two windows.