Giroud could be sticking around at Chelsea for a while longer (Picture: Getty Images)

Chelsea have exercised a clause to extend Olivier Giroud’s contract by one year to prevent the striker leaving on a free transfer to Inter Milan, according to reports.

The France international was due to become a free agent at the end of the season on June 30, but will now be contracted with the Blues until 2021.

According to Goal, the 33-year-old could still move to Inter Milan or Lazio in the summer transfer window, but the club specifically don’t want him to join rivals Tottenham.

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Giroud was on the brink of leaving Stamford Bridge in January, but a move to Serie A giants Inter was abandoned as Chelsea failed in their efforts to find a suitable replacement.

The World Cup winner has worked his way back into Frank Lampard’s side since the winter window, filling in expertly for injured striker Tammy Abraham.

The former Arsenal forward has scored two goals in his last three Premier League starts, proving to be a useful backup option.

Giroud has proved a useful asset for Frank Lampard (Picture: Getty Images)

Alongside the signing of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, the Blues are also pursuing Barcelona’s out-of-favour winger Philippe Coutinho.

Brazil legend Rivaldo backed the ex-Liverpool playmaker to reignite his career at Chelsea.

He said: ‘He will move to a big club and to a country and competition he knows well where he had his best years so far.

‘So if that transfer really happens, I’m sure he will have a good chance of seeing things improve for him in the future, after all he has already shined on the Premier League before.’

MORE: John Terry reveals how Chelsea stars reacted to Carlo Ancelotti’s shock sacking on team bus

MORE: Chelsea plan transfer talks with Hakim Ziyech with Eredivisie set to cancel rest of season

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