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Feb 13

‘Could become an important player’ – Conte tips £18m-rated star to become a key figure for Chelsea

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has backed Olivier Giroud to ‘become an important player’ for the Premier League champions.

Giroud made his full Chelsea debut in Monday night’s Premier League clash with West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge, and the striker provided the assist that saw Eden Hazard open the scoring in the 3-0 home win.

The 31-year-old, who is valued at £18m by transfermarkt.co.uk, joined Chelsea from Arsenal in the latter stages of the January transfer window.

Giroud was replaced just past the hour on Monday night as Alvaro Morata made his long-awaited return from a back problem.

Conte has said that Giroud provides Chelsea with ‘a point of reference’ on the field, and the striker has been tipped to make a big impact during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Conte told Sky Sports:

“To have two strikers in contention for us is very important. Giroud could become an important player and at the same time I had a good answer from Alvaro and we must be happy.

“We forced Giroud to play because we had Morata injured, and it was important to have a point of reference like him on the pitch.”

Chelsea allowed Michy Batshuayi to join Borussia Dortmund on loan in the latter stages of the January window as Giroud made the move across London.

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