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Olivier Giroud Hints at Difficulty Adapting to Chelsea Manager Maurizio Sarri

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: Olivier Giroud of Chelsea arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea FC at Selhurst Park on December 30, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud has said he's frustrated to be the second-choice striker at Chelsea and it's been "difficult" to adapt to his situation at the club this season under manager Maurizio Sarri.

The 32-year-old won the 2018 FIFA World Cup with France last summer but has been a bit-part player for his club this term.

Giroud told ESPN FC's Liam Twomey and Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal he intends to keep fighting for his place but hinted at his disappointment not to be a more prominent member of Sarri's plans: 

"I settled really wellit's like I was part of this Chelsea team for a long time. I felt very good, with a good understanding with the players. We won the FA Cup and I played a few games, and then I had the opportunity to go to the World Cup. It was very good for me.

"Then after, when I came back late from the World Cup, it was a bit different because the new manager came and you have to start again.

"It has been a little bit difficult for me to be honest, this last month, but I will keep fighting to play in this team."

The Frenchman has made 24 appearances this season, but only 10 have been starts (six of those in the Premier League), with a return of five goals and four assists. Record signing Alvaro Morata has started 11 times in the league, but converted winger Eden Hazard has more recently taken his place up front.

Sarri spoke to the media ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash against Arsenal on Saturday, and the Italian didn't sound hopeful of Giroud's chances of starting against his old club, per journalist Vaishali Bhardwaj:

Vaishali Bhardwaj @VaiBhardwaj

Sarri on Giroud: "I don't know at the moment [if he'll start]. I think Giroud played very often in the first six months. It's normal I can choose something different. Tomorrow is huge for our defence so we need balance on the pitch." Sounds like Hazard may start up front...

Twomey and Fernandez-Abascal mentioned in their report the possible loan arrival of Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain—currently at AC Milan—which will only dent Giroud's chances of playing further.

Sarri spent three years at Napoli where he worked alongside Higuain, and it was in the 2015-16 campaign—the former's first in Naples—that the latter scored a Serie A record 36 goals.

Giroud has a deal at Stamford Bridge that expires at the end of this season, but a move elsewhere this month may appeal to him if he feels his chances in west London are diminishing.

Goal's Nizaar Kinsella said Giroud was likely to remain at Chelsea until the end of his contract but noted Barcelona's alleged interest:

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

I can confirm Barcelona have not made any contact with Olivier Giroud yet. He is still likely to remain at Chelsea until the end of the season. Barcelona have another option in mind: https://t.co/0Oj9SCiNJB (w/ @IgnasiOliva) #CFC #FCB

Chelsea's manager has not favoured tall, slower and more physically imposing strikers like Giroud in his career and has experimented with Hazard as a false nine, much as he did to great success with Dries Mertens in Naples.

The first half of the season suggests that hasn't changed for Sarri in the case of Giroud, who could soon consider a future away from Stamford Bridge more seriously.  

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