Gilles Grimandi Confirms Nice Are Interested in Chelsea's Olivier Giroud

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09: Olivier Giroud of Chelsea FC in action during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge on May 09, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse /Getty Images )
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Nice have discussed signing Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud this summer, according to the Ligue 1 club's technical director, Gilles Grimandi.

Speaking during an interview with Canal Football Club (h/t Get French Football News), Grimandi revealed how he's talked with his former Arsenal teammate and Nice manager Patrick Vieira about Giroud: "If Olivier Giroud decides to come that is because he likes the project at OGC Nice. If Olivier is not happy at Chelsea, if he wants to play, we will take all the elements into account. I have spoken with Patrick [Vieira] about Olivier Giroud, but we have not spoken with Olivier Giroud."

Grimandi also recounted the role he played in bringing Giroud to the Premier League back in 2012: "Olivier I know him very well. Very well because I was involved in his transfer from Montpellier to Arsenal. Olivier will choose his destination. For the moment I have not spoken to him. If Olivier Giroud decides to come to OGC Nice it is because he knows the means that we have."

Nice manager Vieira has discussed Giroud with technical director Grimandi.
Nice manager Vieira has discussed Giroud with technical director Grimandi.VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

Giroud helped the Gunners win three FA Cups but was sold to London rivals Chelsea during the winter transfer window in January 2018. Despite some fine performances and clutch goals, Giroud has struggled to establish himself as a regular in the Blues' starting XI.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The 32-year-old has been relegated to a squad role behind Juventus loanee Gonzalo Higuain this season after splitting time with Alvaro Morata at the head of Chelsea's attack.

Even so, Giroud has made the most of the opportunities he's had. The Frenchman has been prolific during Chelsea's run to the UEFA Europa League final:

Ironically, those goals have given Giroud the chance to punish his former employers when the Blues face Arsenal in the final in Baku on Wednesday, May 29. It's a prospect Giroud isn't shying away from, saying the Blues "deserve to win," per Reuters (h/t MailOnline).

Things look just as tricky beyond May 29, though. The powerhouse centre-forward has already talked up the possibility of returning to the French top flight.

Nice would surely be interested in making a return to France happen for Giroud. Grimandi's comments double down on those made by club president Gauthier Ganaye to Telefoot (h/t Goal) last month.

Ganaye indicated a move could happen but raised concerns about the striker's wages, a thought echoed by Grimandi.

Grimandi helped Arsenal sign Giroud from Montpellier back in 2012.
Grimandi helped Arsenal sign Giroud from Montpellier back in 2012.Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Giroud's wages may not even become a factor after Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri recently revealed the west London club plans to keep him. Sarri said the Blues will "exercise the option" to extend Giroud's contract for another year, per Sam Wallace of the Daily Telegraph.

Keeping Giroud makes sense, especially for a club banned by FIFA from signing senior players during the next two windows, per BBC Sport.

Yet the player's desire for more minutes could yet lead to an exit this summer, with any Ligue 1 side that makes a move sure to get a proven goalscorer at the highest level.