Olivier Giroud has revealed that he told Chelsea that the last three months of his spell there were “too difficult”, which prompted his decision to leave them this summer.
Giroud was a useful option for Chelsea after joining them from rivals Arsenal in January 2018. In three-and-a-half years on the blue side of London, he scored 39 goals from 119 games and won three trophies. The last of those was the 2021 Champions League, for which he was an unused substitute in the final.
Thus, his Chelsea career came to a close despite his contract being extended by a year just a few days later. It was done so on the condition that Chelsea would let him leave should an appropriate suitor show interest. In the end, Milan paid a minor sum to take him to Serie A.
Giroud has started his spell in Italy well, with two goals from his first three starts. Amid that resurgence, he has now opened up on his decision to walk away from Stamford Bridge this summer.
In an interview with Telefoot in his native France, Giroud claimed it was the “obvious choice” to depart.
He said: “I liked the Premier League, but at some point, I had to make a decision. I told [Thomas] Tuchel that the last three months had been too difficult.
“It was an obvious choice to leave Chelsea, I moved on with great emotion for all the moments we lived. Some were good, some others not as much, but we won three important titles.”
Giroud used the same two words to describe his decision to move to San Siro, adding: “It was an obvious choice to join Milan.
“I supported this club when I was younger, the teams with [Jean-Pierre] Papin, [Marco] Van Basten and [Franco] Baresi. I am proud to have joined this club and I hope to have fun here.
“The welcome I received was wonderful. I was welcomed as in a family. I made a great debut, there I feel very good and I’m hungry to win with Milan.”
Giroud was one of several departures from Chelsea this summer, as Marina Granovskaia raised plenty of transfer funds from some unwanted players. Fikayo Tomori made the same move to Milan after spending the second half of last season on loan there, while Tammy Abraham also moved to Italy with Roma.
Less experienced academy graduates like Marc Guehi and Tino Lavromento also moved on elsewhere in the Premier League for useful sums of money, as did the long-serving Kurt Zouma.
Giroud has AC Milan target
Chelsea do not appear to be missing Giroud too much, with record-signing replacement Romelu Lukaku already having four goals to his name since his return to the club.
Lukaku revived his career on the other side of the Milan divide with Inter, and the move to Italy could have a similar effect for Giroud, who only started three Premier League games following the appointment of Tuchel in January.
Now 34 years old, the experienced France international is aiming high for his new venture.
Competing for a place with an even more experienced frontman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Giroud believes he will be shown more faith than he was in his latter months at Chelsea.
As a result, he backed himself to achieve a goal tally that would be better than any he managed for Chelsea.
He said: “Zlatan is a legend and there will be a real competition between us.
“I can score at least 15 goals, that’s what I hope. If I play every game, that’s what I expect.”
Giroud hit double figures in each of his three full seasons at Chelsea, with his most prolific year being 2018-19, when he scored 13 times.