It is not hard to understand Chelsea’s decision to extend Olivier Giroud’s contract.
Yesterday, amid their transfer ban, the west London club announced on their official website that the 32-year-old had put pen to paper on a new one-year deal as they prepare to possibly go into next season without making any new signings.
Considering that and with Gonzalo Higuain’s future in SW6 uncertain, deciding to keep Giroud was probably the correct call.
And according to Evening Standard journalist Simon Johnson, the Frenchman will now be expected to compete against Tammy Abraham for a starting spot in the Blues’ starting XI.
How, though, do the two Chelsea strikers compare?
While he has been in deadly form in the Europa League this season, overall, Giroud has hardly been the most prolific of No.9s since arriving at Stamford Bridge last year.
The former Arsenal man has only netted twice in the Premier League this term, which does not make for good reading if he actually is going to be the main man in west London.
That being said, with his unselfish play and ability to link up with his team-mates so effectively, Giroud can still be a very useful asset for Maurizio Sarri.
“He’s a targetman, maybe the best in the world. I think so. When he gets the ball, he can hold it and we can go with him,” Eden Hazard told Sky Sports last September when speaking about the France international.
“For us, he’s a player to play with. When Alvaro [Morata] was playing it is completely different, he’s a different player with different qualities.”
TT Grade: C+
In contrast, albeit in a weaker division, Abraham has been anything but unprolific this season during his loan spell at Villa Park.
In front of goal, he has been in devastating form for Aston Villa, scoring 26 goals in the Championship.
During his last stint in the Premier League with Swansea City, it did not quite work out for the 21-year-old.
But in a team with much better players such as Chelsea, Abraham has the quality to reach a tally closer to his Aston Villa one.
The England international’s movement is elite and he is a good finisher. He has all the makings of a top-class poacher, and Sarri really should be looking to utilise that given his current options.
TT Grade: B-
Next season, if it is a straight toss up between Giroud and Abraham, there is no doubt Sarri will initially go for the experience of the former.
But given what Abraham has accomplished this term, it would be absolutely criminal if the Italian did not give him a genuine shot of becoming Chelsea’s first-choice No.9 at some point.
Given their predicament, Abraham could be both the Blues’ present and future and deserves a chance to show that.
Chelsea fans, who do you want to see leading the line next season? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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