Chelsea boss Lampard wants Giroud stay amid 'brutal' December schedule

Frank Lampard has said he wants Olivier Giroud to stay at the club and believes the striker can help Chelsea navigate a "brutal" December fixture list.

Sources told ESPN last week that Giroud was eyeing a move away from Stamford Bridge after becoming frustrated at a lack of playing time and the striker confirmed in an interview with Telefoot last weekend that he was "worried" by his "playing time getting reduced a lot."

- ESPN Insider Notebook: Liverpool demand VAR answers
- Stream FC Daily on ESPN+

Lampard is expected to discuss Giroud's situation ahead of the January transfer window with the 34-year-old desperate to play regularly to retain his place in the France side for next summer's Euros.

Les Blues coach Didier Deschamps admitted his spot was in doubt, adding "for [the international games in] March, he will have to find another solution."

However, Lampard said Giroud will feature more often in the weeks ahead, particularly with Chelsea facing Tottenham on Sunday before eight matches next month.

"I do have plans to have Oli [in a] very important [place] in our squad," Lampard told a news conference ahead of their Champions League trip to Rennes. "He was a big member of our squad last year. I think he played a lot of games and made a lot of starts for us last year.

"When you look at his Chelsea career in terms of league starts, I think he played a relative amount. He will always want to play more. He is a huge member of the squad for me and I know he'll be important for us going forward so I want Oli to be here and to stay because of the way he is playing.

"I have a very good relationship with Oli and if ever he felt that it was going to go a different way, I would happily have that conversation with him but I want him to stay here and we will be very open both ways if that ever changed but at the minute he is very important to me.

"I've just looked at the schedule through December and it is brutal. We are doing the job that we love and we want to play regularly but some of the games, particularly around Christmas, at the moment, I hope it changes.

"We are due to play Arsenal on Boxing Day and then Aston Villa two days later when that game can easily be pushed one or two further days later. Things like that make sense and I have to be aware of that.

"So, first and foremost we need to prepare for this game to try and win it, which is going to be a really tough challenge but of course if we were to make one step into the next round then it would be an opportunity maybe to look at players that need game minutes or to rest players.

"But we would still want to win the group and no matter what the result tomorrow, we still have to go to Seville in the next game so it will be competitive throughout. I am confident in the squad and if I make rotations, I do that sometimes to keep us as strong as we are or even improve us. Those things will come into my thinking."

Giroud scored eight goals in 13 games at the end of last season but has just 36 minutes of Premier League football to his name this season after falling behind Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham in the pecking order.

His only start in any competition came against Spurs in September's EFL Cup fourth round defeat, leading to speculation Inter Miami could be among the clubs to offer Giroud an escape route.

Giroud's agent Michael Manuello claimed "discovering a new culture" would be "ideal" for him and Lampard said: "I saw Oli's agent's quotes and I thought nothing of them in a bad way because its normal. I know Oli very well, we have an open conversation.

"He wants to play. When he doesn't play, he is an incredible support for the other players, he trains brilliantly no matter what and we have grown up conversations like we did last January.

"So in January we will cross that bridge when it comes but my first thought always has to be the strength of our squad. I've just mentioned the schedule in December there and I'll be using or relying on top players and both of those [Giroud and Abraham] as I see it, are top strikers for us.

"We'll have to see how that one goes and I'll always be honest with Oli, But I still think he's got a big contribution for us. I know that because I know how he is. I don't want to get drawn at the end of November into conversations about what might happen in January onwards at the minute."