The strike and goalkeeping pair of Olivier Giroud and Willy Caballero, respectively, have put pen to paper in moves that will see them remain at the Blues until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Giroud, who was teetering on the edge as he found game time hard to come by amid the transfer window in January, forced himself back into Frank Lampard’s plans just prior to the coronavirus lockdown which saw the Premier League being suspended indefinitely at the end of April. It is understood the South West London club activated a clause that effectively stopped Giroud from exiting on a free transfer in the summer.
All of this while he had the chance to leave in January after making only five Premier League appearances and entering the last six months of his contract. He was linked with a move to Inter Milan in the Serie A as The Blues sought a replacement at the time. A U-turn, however, quickly came about after fellow-striker Tammy Abraham sustained an injury in February, with Giroud impressing on his return to the side en route to bagging two strikes in four league games.
I am delighted to continue my journey and adventure at Chelsea,” said Giroud on the back of his contract extension. “I can’t wait to get back to playing and enjoying competitive football with my teammates”. Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard, said the Frenchman’s professional quality is invaluable to the club.
He has great qualities to help the squad both on and off the pitch, not only with his talent but with the example he sets every day and the experience he brings to our young squad. I am very pleased that will continue next season,” said Lampard. In the case of Caballero, his new deal will keep him at Stamford Bridge until months before he turns 40.
The Argentine briefly displaced the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, earlier this year after a series of costly errors by the Spaniard. “It is a difficult time for everyone right now so I feel blessed by this opportunity and truly appreciate it,” said Caballero per the Blues’ official website. Prior to the suspension of the current season, Caballero made nine appearances and five consecutive starts in February, including in Chelsea’s home victory over Spurs.
Kepa had reclaimed his place by the time the suspension came but Lampard made no bones about the 39-year-old’s importance as he approaches the twilight of his career. “I trust in Willy; he trains brilliantly and is a great professional,” Lampard said. “He stepped into the team earlier this year and showed his quality, and his experience is invaluable in the dressing room. I’m delighted he will be with us next season.”