Olivier Giroud has warned he is not prepared to settle for a back-up role at Chelsea and the 32-year-old striker insists his fitness statistics are among the best at the club.
Giroud has had to make do with second-striker status — behind Alvaro Morata, then Gonzalo Higuain — since signing in an £18million transfer from Arsenal in January 2018.
The Frenchman scored a hat-trick in Chelsea’s 5-0 win at Dynamo Kiev on Thursday, taking his tally in the Europa League to nine for the season, but he has started just six top-flight games.
Manager Maurizio Sarri will probably pick Higuain when Chelsea travel to Everton tomorrow. Giroud said: ‘I’m 32 but I’m still young. I feel very well physically. When I do the tests on the treadmill I have one of the best (at the club). I’m still hungry and I have a few nice years in front of me.’
Chelsea are yet to trigger an option to extend his contract by a year and his deal expires at the end of the season.
As they face a two-window transfer ban, the club can ill-afford to lose him.
Meanwhile, Chelsea will escape punishment for making alleged illegal payments to the father of defender Andreas Christensen, because they were declared during a Premier League amnesty period in 2015.
The club were alleged to have employed the Dane’s father, Sten, as a scout on the day they signed the player — paying him £11,400 a month for four years — though he did not carry out any scouting duties for Chelsea.
However, in November 2015 the Premier League allowed clubs to admit to breaking rules about signing youth players in order to help create new policies designed to prevent such breaches in the future.