Olivier Giroud: France forward will only leave Chelsea “for benefit” of club

Giroud has not featured for Chelsea since November

Chelsea’s World Cup-winning forward Olivier Giroud will only leave this month if it is “for the benefit of the club”, assistant boss Jody Morris says.

Giroud, 33, has started only two league matches this season and has been linked with a number of English and European teams, most recently Aston Villa.

But Morris said: “We can’t just let people walk out the door if that means we’re left short somewhere.”

The Frenchman joined from Arsenal on an 18-month deal in January 2018.

Giroud featured in 27 league matches last term – 20 as substitute – and signed a new contract in May until the end of this season.

However, Tammy Abraham has established himself as Chelsea’s leading striker this term, the England striker scoring 12 league goals.

Giroud continues to feature in international football, scoring four times in six appearances for France this season, and is thought to be anxious to secure regular club football in order to stay in the plans of coach Didier Deschamps.

“Yes, you have to look at the individual as well, but I’ve got to say Giroud’s been nothing but a class act and a top professional since he’s been here, so I don’t envisage any issues from him on that front,” Morris said.

The former Chelsea midfielder deputised at the news conference for manager Frank Lampard, who took training on Friday but has been troubled by illness.

Several Chelsea players have also suffered from the bug, including England defender Fikayo Tomori, who is a doubt for Sunday’s FA Cup fixture with Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge.

“Frank’s had a bit of a bug, he’s had it for about a week to 10 days to be fair, and the older you get it’s harder to shake,” said Morris. “He’ll be all right for the game on Sunday.

“Fik trained but he’s still not feeling the best. He’s got a bit of a bug himself too. There’s been a bit of it flying about anyway, so I’m hoping it isn’t going to get any worse.”