Olivier Giroud has reiterated his first priority was to secure a transfer to Inter Milan if he left Chelsea in January, saying former Blues chief Antonio Conte contacted him regarding a move.

The France frontman also spoke about interest he received from Lazio and Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur, though Chelsea were adamant about securing a replacement before he was allowed to leave.

Giroud, 33, told Telefoot (via Goal’s James Westwood) his first choice was always to link up with Conte, who brought him to Stamford Bridge from Arsenal in January 2018:

“Everyone knows that the sporting project of Inter was the most interesting for me. Lazio and Tottenham also looked for me. At one point, it was a question of where I wanted to go to play. I spoke to Conte on the phone.”

Conte was sacked as Chelsea chief six months after Giroud completed the move to west London. The 50-year-old was appointed Nerazzurri manager in May 2019 and kept them in contention for the Scudetto before back-to-back defeats saw them fall to third in Serie A just before play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Football writer Jeremy Smith cited a report from Gazzetta dello Sport earlier in March, which suggested Conte could reignite his interest in signing the veteran later in 2020:

Giroud—whose contract is due to expire in June—distanced himself from transfer rumours and added now is “not the time to talk about contracts,” hinting he’d be open to staying at Chelsea on the right terms.

The 2018 World Cup winner made two starts in the first 26 matches of the Premier League campaign under Frank Lampard, though the manager may be a bigger fan after Giroud scored twice in three games—during wins over Spurs and Everton—prior to the COVID-19 suspension.