Inter steal a march in Giroud race


Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is thought to prefer a move to Italian giants Inter Milan if he leaves the club this month.

Giroud has barely featured this season, with Tammy Abraham first choice under Frank Lampard, while Michy Batshuayi has been favoured in reserve and also in the cup competitions.

Inevitably, the France forward has been linked with a move away in January and even this week Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps has suggested that he find a new club to ensure he remains in his starting plans heading into Euro 2020.

The 33-year-old joined Chelsea in January 2018 from Arsenal and looked set to leave last summer, only for the board to exercise a clause in his deal that allowed them to extend his contract for another year.

That will not be the case this time around and, with Giroud set to be a free agent in the summer, the Blues could cash in this month.

A stay in the Premier League has been mooted, with Crystal Palace and Aston Villa thought to have asked about his services, but the former Montpellier man would prefer a move to Italy.

Joining Inter would see him reunite with Antonio Conte although he would likely find himself behind Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez in the pecking order.

The Nerazzurri seem keen, holding talks before Christmas, and are believed to have offered Gabriel Barbosa, who fired Flamengo to the Copa Libertadores while on loan in Brazil, as part of a swap deal.

Reports in Italy say that Diego Godin is also an option to depart for Chelsea despite only moving to Inter during the summer on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid.

That would potentially bring Antonio Rudiger into the conversation but the Blues are unlikely to want to sell the German.

Instead, the Milanese outfit, who sit top of Serie A, may have to pay out for Giroud, with a fee of 20m euros being suggested.