London: Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri expects Olivier Giroud to stay at the club next season and said he believes the French striker wants to remain at Stamford Bridge.
Giroud’s contract expires in June but Chelsea have an option to extend the deal by a further 12 months.
The 32-year-old, who joined from Arsenal last January, said last month that he wanted to move back to France after growing frustrated by a lack of playing time since Chelsea signed Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain in the recent transfer window.
When Sarri was asked whether he wanted to retain the Frenchman’s services, he said: “Yes, of course.
“I know the club have an option for another season, so I think he will remain. Do I get the impression he wants to stay? I think so.”
Giroud, who helped France win the World Cup last year, has started only seven Premier League games this season. However, he has started the majority of Chelsea’s Europa League matches and is the competition’s top scorer with nine goals.
Chelsea, who were hit with a one-year transfer ban in February, lodged an appeal to FIFA’s Appeal Committee and the case will be heard on April 11.
Chelsea, who host West Ham United in the Premier League on Monday (11pm UAE start), are fifth in the table with 63 points.
Meanwhile, angry English Football League chiefs have condemned a fresh outburst of alleged racism in several matches this weekend.
Championship side Brentford confirmed a season-ticket holder was arrested following a claim of abuse by Derby midfielder Duane Holmes in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Griffin Park.
Wigan, also in the second tier, have reported a sickening message was sent to wing-back Nathan Byrne on social media to the police.
Meanwhile, Northampton have also revealed that several of their players were allegedly abused ahead of their game at Notts County as they went on a pre-match walk from the team hotel before the League Two game at Meadow Lane.
The incidents come hot on the heels of the racist abuse that had already tarnished this season across Europe.
Montenegro fans marred England’s Euro 2020 qualifier recently by abusing Danny Rose, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Manchester City winger Sterling was also the victim of alleged racist abuse in a Premier League match at Chelsea in December.
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown at him by a Tottenham support.
“The EFL was saddened, disappointed and angered to hear of further reports of alleged racism following the conclusion of some matches on Saturday afternoon,” the statement read.
“It was exceptionally disappointing that this happened as clubs up and down the country were raising awareness of such issues as part of Kick it Out’s Week of Action.
“We remain fully committed to continuing to work alongside The FA and Premier League as well as other relevant parties to ensure that football provides a welcoming environment for supporters attending matches and those participating in them.
“We cannot, and will not, accept this type of behaviour inside our stadiums, as we know our clubs won’t.”
Holmes, 24, was substituted in the 74th minute against Brentford, with the incident occurring nine minutes after the Bees’ third equaliser.
A statement on the Brentford website read: “Brentford Football Club can confirm that a season-ticket holder was arrested following today’s game against Derby County.
“The man in question has been accused of committing a racially-aggravated public order offence in the later stages of today’s game. He was identified at the time, removed from the ground and subsequently arrested.”