Chelsea manager Frank Lampard insists that wantaway striker Olivier Giroud still has a "big contribution" to make at the club.
The contract that the 34-year-old signed after his move from Arsenal was extended by one more season last May but his playing time has been limited so far this season with just EFL Cup start and a total of 63 minutes in four Premier League matches and one Champions League match.
Giroud vented his frustrations in an interview with French TV channel Telefoot last week saying: "I thought I still had a role to play at Chelsea, but my playing time is getting reduced a lot. It’s going to have to change, or else I must make a decision."
Tammy Abraham has started five Premier League matches this season and been handed the lead striker role for the last three matches, scoring in the last two but with eight matches to play in December, the Blues boss feels that he will need to rely on Giroud's experience.
"I know Oli (Giroud) very well, we have an open conversation," said Lampard.
"He wants to play. When he doesn't play, he's an incredible support for the other players. He trains brilliantly, no matter what and we have really grown-up conversations like we did last January.
"In January we will cross that bridge when it comes but my first thought always has to be the strength of our squad.
"I just mentioned the schedule in December there and I will be relying on top players and [Abraham & Giroud], as I see it, are top strikers for us.
"We'll have to see how that one goes and I will always be honest with Oli but I still think he's got a big contribution for us."
Giroud's agent Michael Manuello has also been speaking up on the French World Cup winner's behalf, claiming that it's "not frankly fair" that Abraham is ahead of him in the pecking order.
Lampard was keen to let the player know that the lines of direct communication remain open to him.
"I saw those quotes from his agent but they didn’t surprise me. I know Oli and we talk all the time," said Lampard.
"He was a big member of our squad last year. I think he played a lot of games and made a lot of starts for us last year.
"When you look at his Chelsea career in terms of league starts, I think he played a relative amount. He'll always want to play more.
"He's a huge member of the squad for me and I know he will be important for us going forward so I want Oli to be here and to stay because of the way he's playing.
"I have a very good relationship with Oli and if ever he felt that it was going to go a different way then I would happily have that conversation with him but I want him to stay here and we will be very open, both ways, if that ever changed but at the moment he is very important to me."
Lampard also had some good news on the injury front with Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva ready for tomorrow's Champions League trip to Rennes and Christian Pulisic almost ready to return to action.
"Kai and Thiago will both travel and they are fit for selection," he revealed.
"Christian stays back and doesn't travel but the good news is that he has had some good progression in the last week.
"And the reason he is staying back is to get some physical work to hopefully have him ready for selection come the weekend and onwards."