First Words: Olivier Giroud
news Thu 1 Feb 2018
Olivier Giroud sealed his transfer to Chelsea from Arsenal on deadline day, and shortly afterwards the French striker sat down with us to discuss the switch, his experiences of playing against us in the past, and his targets in a blue shirt…
Olivier, welcome to Chelsea. What were your reasons for deciding to make the move?
The most important thing was talking with the coach, Antonio Conte. I felt like he really wanted me and he really wanted to work with me.
I wanted to sign for Chelsea and nowhere else. I really wanted to play more. I wanted to stay in the Premier League, and Chelsea for me is perfect because I can even stay in London.
But the first reason is the sporting challenge. That has always been my first priority. Everything is here for me to be happy.
What is it that you like about Antonio Conte as a coach?
I don’t know him very well but I like the positive energy he brings from the side of the pitch, always supporting his players, talking to them. I think communication is massive in football and in all sports in general.
For me the relationship you have with the coach is very important. His tactical philosophy is very good because he is Italian. Chelsea is a strong team defensively and they are quite efficient up front with great players, so I think I will enjoy it.
It seems clear that you love London, and so you must be looking forward to exploring a new part of town now…
Yeah, I love London! But the thing I love the most is the Premier League.
On the pitch, what do you think you can bring to Chelsea?
My hold-up play, my link-up play and my efficiency in front of goal. That’s not bad! My team spirit, too. My mental strength as well is good, because you go through difficulties sometimes in a season and you have to be strong and try to keep the strong team cohesion. I will be here to help the team with that.
You’re obviously a tall player but we have seen you score all sorts of different goals since you’ve been in England…
I try to do the most efficient gesture in front of goal. If the ball is on my right foot I will not try to come back on my left. If I can finish with the right, I will. If I can finish with the scorpion kick, I will!
No, to be serious, in the box you don’t get too much time so you have to adapt yourself to be ready to finish in one touch. Most of my goals have been in one touch because you have to be first to the ball and to trick the keeper.
What has been your experience of playing against Chelsea in the last few years?
They have always been tough games against Chelsea, but I have to say in the last two years they have been quite equal games.
You will have the opportunity to play in the Champions League again, too. We’ve got a big tie against Barcelona coming up…
The Champions League is massive for a football player. There is nothing above it when you’re playing for a club. There will be two nice games against Barcelona. We know their qualities and I think everybody will need to be 100 per cent to go through. It will be very exciting and I’m looking forward to it.
There are a couple of French players here, and are there any other players in our current squad you know personally?
Yes, I know N’Golo and Tiemoue from the national team, they are very nice guys and I spoke with them after the Arsenal v Chelsea game in the Carabao Cup, and I was happy to see them. I know as well Eden Hazard, David Luiz, and I have played a lot of games against Azpi. A lot of players can speak French, there is Thibaut Courtois as well, and I think I will settle well thanks to them.
Finally, what are your general ambitions at Chelsea?
My ambition is to win some trophies. That’s why I am playing football. I am a competitor and I want to win again and again.
I want to score as many goals as I can to help the team to always reach our target and to be as decisive as I possibly can be.