Frank Lampard has admitted it would be a calculated gamble to let Olivier Giroud leave Chelsea without signing a replacement.
Blues boss Lampard has given the clearest indication yet that Giroud could leave Stamford Bridge in the January window, conceding the France striker could depart even if no replacement arrives this month.
Giroud’s agent is understood to have agreed personal terms with Inter Milan, with ex-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte keen to recruit the World Cup-winning striker.
Lampard insists no deal has yet been struck with Chelsea over a sale for Giroud, whose contract expires in the summer – but the Blues boss knows his possible departure could squeeze the Blues’ squad.
Should Giroud leave without Chelsea signing a replacement then the Blues would have just Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as recognised senior strikers.
“There are a lot of things in football and the squad that are a risk, otherwise you would line up three or four of the best players in each position,” said Lampard.
“We have some adaptable players in our team who could take up different roles, so that would have to come into my thinking at that point.
“That’s my job, I’m going into it now. I have to make those decisions as I go along.
“I also have to think about the make-up of the squad, the spirit of the squad and I also have a human level where I look at people and players, how they are, how they train and how the squad could be affected in lots of different ways.
“Ollie (Giroud) has been great as well and I respect him for that, and that slightly comes into my thinking as well.
“The club will always come first. If I feel the decision to keep everybody in the January window, that will be my decision too.
“Nothing is done yet so we can probably broach these questions if and when something is done.
“Everyone’s talking about it (a possible Giroud transfer) so I’m not going to beat around the bush. I think his agent has spoken to the club, but until anything’s done he’s a Chelsea player.”
Frontline striker Abraham has already bagged 12 goals in his breakthrough Premier League campaign with Chelsea, and Lampard has backed the academy graduate to keep improving.
Abraham jumped at the chance to wear Chelsea’s coveted number nine shirt, and Lampard has admitted having no qualms handing it over after watching the 22-year-old in pre-season.
Lampard believes Abraham could step up for England at Euro 2020 should injured Harry Kane not recover in time, hailing his star striker’s tough resolve and bullish confidence.
Asked if Abraham can seize a chance with England now, Lampard said: “He should always be thinking that.
“I’m so impressed with him because when the number nine shirt was available a few people around here were saying ‘be careful, that’s not always had the best feeling in different players here’.
“It was my decision to give it to him purely on his personality in pre-season.
“I knew he was a good player and I liked him on the training ground, but his personality is one that was saying ‘yes please, I want that, I want to be Chelsea’s number nine’.
“The question with a young boy is ‘does he need that pressure?’ And my opinion was yes.
“It’s a great start, but it’s something he needs to keep going because he is at that stage now where everyone is expecting him to play well, score and affect games in a big way. And that brings a new challenge, and that is his challenge now.”