Chelsea begin talks with Giroud over new contract

Olivier Giroud Chelsea 2019-20

Chelsea have opened talks with Olivier Giroud's representatives over a new contract after the France striker almost left the club in January.

The 33-year-old was resurgent before the Premier League stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak, after previously falling out of favour under Frank Lampard ahead of the winter transfer window.

Inter were the closest team to signing Giroud in January but Chelsea failed to find any attacking replacements to join in the window, leading to them keeping the France international.

Still, Inter had verbally agreed on a deal with Giroud and he will likely get similar terms if he re-joins his old manager Antonio Conte, with a two-and-a-half-year contract having already been discussed.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are only likely to offer a one-year deal due to their policy of short-term contracts for over-30 players, but they have recently broken their policy in certain circumstances.

Giroud, whose contract is set to expire in June, has already said he wants to stay at Chelsea and also stated that he had interest from Tottenham and Lazio in January.

"Yes, of course," Giroud replied when asked last month if he wanted to stay with Chelsea. "There are a few weeks [to go in the season], games to win and maybe another trophy.

"And after I think I have two, three nice seasons in front of me. It's not the time to talk about contracts. But one more time I will take a decision when it comes.

"It's behind me. It was a tough month for me. I just spoke with the manager and I believed what he said, that I would get my chance and he has given me my chance.

"I have tried to give his confidence back on the pitch. I do my job the best that I can and I'm very happy to be back in the team. Of course, my confidence is better.

"The transfer window is behind me. I'm a Chelsea player, I'm happy here again and that's the most important thing."

Giroud's contract, like almost all top-level footballers, runs until June 30, which typically gives teams time to complete the season before negotiating new deals.

However, the current Covid-19 situation has led to FIFA giving guidance to the various European leagues this week on players with expiring contracts.

"Contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end," a statement read. "This should be in line with the original intention of the parties when the contract was signed and should also preserve sporting integrity and stability."

According to the guidance, Chelsea will have to wait until all domestic fixtures are completed in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands before Hakim Ziyech, their €40 million (£37m/$43m) signing from Ajax, can arrive.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are waiting for the situation to unfold before deciding whether to furlough non-playing staff after announcing a record turnover of £446.7m ($553m) at the turn of the year.

Cesar Azpilicueta has been present in meetings on behalf of Chelsea's squad with talks ongoing between the various parties to protect the football businesses in a challenging time.

Tottenham and Liverpool announced they would use the government's furlough scheme, with the latter having since done a U-turn amid criticism. Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich will also use the public funding to support some of their staff.

Chelsea announced a loss of £96.6m ($119.6m) in the year ending 30 June 2019 due to costs relating to Antonio Conte's sacking, transfer business and not being in the Champions League.

So far, Chelsea have offered their car park and hotels on-site at Stamford Bridge for National Health Service (NHS) staff. The squad have given a sizable donation to the Chelsea Foundation which is helping children, the elderly and the vulnerable through online work with social distancing in effect in the UK.

The latest announcement from the club was their partnership with domestic abuse charity Refuge, which is expecting to see a rise in cases with people being forced to stay in their homes.

This is on top of work done with Chelsea's charity partner Plan International, who are helping provide food, essential hygiene kits, access to clean water, vital public health information, as well as learning materials and support to keep children safe.

Chelsea's players continue to train from home with Willian having travelled to Brazil to be with his family.

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