Chelsea forward Giroud hints at possible return to France

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has revealed his frustration at his lack of playing time and admitted he could be tempted by a return to France.

The 32-year-old, who is out of contract in the summer, has made just six Premier League starts this season and is firmly behind the on-loan Gonzalo Higuain in the current pecking order.

“Of course it’s frustrating,” the France international told French radio station RTL. “Today, I have the impression there is clearly no competition (for places in attack) since January.

“It’s like that, I know that I will only play in the Europa League.

“I try to do what it takes to be as effective and as important as I can for the team.”

Giroud, who left Montpellier for Arsenal in the summer of 2012 before joining the Blues in January last year, indicated he could be open to a return to domestic French football.

“The future may be hectic this summer,” he said. “I’m not afraid to go down a level to have more playing time. It could be I end my career in France.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea will take on J-League champions Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama in July as part of their pre-season build up.

The Premier League side announced the opponents for the match at the International Stadium on July 19 as the first confirmed fixture in the run-up to the 2019/2020 season.

The Blues are set to return to Japan having played at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, where they finished as runners-up to Brazilian side Corinthians.

The game in Yokohama will take place at the same venue as the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup final.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: We are delighted to be returning to Japan after almost seven years and we also thank the J-League for their cooperation in organising the game.

“We are sure Kawasaki Frontale will provide high-level opposition at a noisy and passionate International Stadium as we prepare for the season ahead.”

It remains to be seen who the Chelsea manager will be heading into next season, with Maurizio Sarri’s position under scrutiny.

The Blues’ 2-0 loss at Everton left Sarri’s side three points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal in the Premier League.

However, Chelsea remain very much in contention for Europa League success and are set to play Slavia Prague for a place in the semi-finals.

- Press Association

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