Olivier Giroud Said Gonzalo Higuain Arrival Will 'Darken My Future' at Chelsea

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2019

Chelsea's French striker Olivier Giroud (L) comes on to replace Chelsea's Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain (R) during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday at Stamford Bridge in London on January 27, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
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Olivier Giroud said the prospect of Chelsea signing Gonzalo Higuain would "darken" his future at the club prior to the Argentinian's arrival.

The Blues brought in Higuain on loan from Juventus on Wednesday, and in an interview with Canal ahead of the striker's signing, Giroud said it could lead to his departure from Stamford Bridge.

He said (h/t MailOnline's Adam Shergold):

"The coach makes [Eden] Hazard play nine which is detrimental to strikers. But he is the best player I've ever played with.

"If the club decides to get another striker, like Higuain, it will certainly darken my future at Chelsea.

"I've never said 'no' to a return to France. Lyon and Marseille are two great clubs. My priority is to stay in the Premier League, though."

Giroud is not thinking of leaving the club in the coming days, per Simon Johnson of the Evening Standard:

Simon Johnson @sjstandardsport

#Giroud is talking about the summer window not this one. #cfc have an option to trigger a 12 month clause in his current contract, which expires in June. https://t.co/jbB5HaysEP

He signed for the Blues in January last year, but he has scored just 10 goals for them in 45 appearances.

"I will never make people unanimously satisfied with me," the Frenchman added. "There is a little part of regret and frustration. The public expects a goalscorer to score goals. I'm the fourth best goalscorer of French football and nobody can take that away from me."

As a result of his and Alvaro Morata's struggles in front of goal, manager Maurizio Sarri had taken to using Eden Hazard in a central role before recruiting Higuain, who now looks set to be the Italian's first choice for the remainder of the campaign.

In Thursday's Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Tottenham Hotspur, which came too soon for Higuain to be involved following his arrival, Giroud had the chance to impress with a rare 90-minute run-out.

Giroud had only completed 90 minutes on four previous occasions this season. He failed to make the most of the opportunity, though, and missed some gilt-edged chances before the Blues eventually won the tie on penalties.

He did, however, show off one of his biggest strengths—his link-play—in a late cameo against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday:

The Emirates FA Cup @EmiratesFACup

👏 | What a finish, @WillianBorges88! https://t.co/cfo9OSp9AU

It's clear the Blues want regular goals from their centre-forward, given they've turned to Higuain, but it was a reminder that Giroud still has much to give to a team who know how to make use of him.

Per BBC Sport, Morata is reportedly set to join Atletico Madrid on an 18-month loan deal. If that goes ahead, Giroud will still only be competing with one other striker for game time, albeit one who has Sarri's trust from their time working together at Napoli.

Chelsea may not want to lose the 32-year-old in the summer because it will force them to find another player to occupy his role in the squad, but much will depend on how the coming months go for him in terms of how many minutes he receives and what he's able to do with them.