Stefano Pioli will be able to call upon the experience and the big game track record of Olivier Giroud tonight as he returns from suspension to face Atalanta.
Giroud had been banned for two matches following his straight red card against Lecce, and he will return to lead Milan’s attack knowing that he has some making up to do, even if the team were able to win the games he missed.
Calciomercato.com write how Giroud has become fundamental for Pioli since his arrival in the summer of 2021, as well as a leader within the squad. That is why the red card and the anonymous performance after the missed penalty against Dortmund are fuelling him to respond in the right way.
Statistically, Giroud excels in big matches. He has six goals against Napoli, three against Inter and Lazio, two against Roma and one against Juventus, but he is yet to score against Atalanta and that is why today’s game at the Gewiss Stadium is an opportunity.
A single goal would send a message to the critics, to Luka Jovic (who provided the first positive signs with his goal against Frosinone) and Francesco Camarda (youngest debutant in Serie A in history of Italian football) that the striker role is his.
Giroud’s fate, in fact, is closely linked to what happens on the green pitch. In Le Journal du Dimanche , over the past few weeks, the Frenchman expressed himself as follows: “My contract expires in June. I haven’t spoken about it with the club yet, but I would like to stay. I am convinced that I can still be useful to this team.”
A precise declaration of intent, also demonstrated by the total disinterest towards Saudi Arabia and the United States, who tried to convince him to change his tune with millions. Giroud is ready to negotiate a contract renewal, giving exclusive priority to Milan.
The solution that would satisfy everyone would be that of a one-year renewal, but a balance must first be found on a salary that is currently €3.5m net per year. Talks will begin in the coming months.