Chelsea have confirmed that they triggered a one-year extension option in Olivier Giroud's contract back in April to keep him tied to the club until the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
The French forward, whose previous deal was set to expire this summer, was widely expected to walk away from Stamford Bridge after struggling for minutes under Thomas Tuchel, with AC Milan rumoured to be pursuing a deal.
"Olivier has been such a crucial part of so many big moments for this club, from his contribution to our FA Cup victory in 2018 to scoring 11 goals on the way to winning the Europa League in 2019," said director Marina Granovskaia. "He has continued to score significant goals, and we will never forget his effort against Atletico Madrid on the way to winning the Champions League this season.
"With so much to still to play for, there was only one decision we could make when we exercised the option to extend his contract back in April."
Well, who saw that coming?
Most outlets were confident in their declarations that Giroud would be leaving Chelsea this summer, and understandably so. The Frenchman featured just six times in the Premier League under Thomas Tuchel, and with his contract supposedly expiring in the summer, the writing appeared to be on the wall.
There were no shortage of potential suitors for Giroud, with teams from across Europe and in Major League Soccer all keen, but there's no chance of a free transfer happening now.
Whether Giroud actually does stay beyond this summer is a different question entirely. The 34-year-old is a proven top-flight striker who is struggling for minutes at his current club, which will pique the interest of plenty of teams looking for a new forward.
However, Chelsea may choose to keep him around as a rotation option. There are still plans to pick up a new big-name striker, while talk of 19-year-old Armando Broja earning a spot in the squad when he returns from his obligatory loan with Vitesse continues to get louder and louder, but Giroud's presence means Chelsea do not have to panic in the transfer market.
The Blues are still expected to lose Tammy Abraham, who has his own struggles for minutes this season, but it seems like he'll be the only striker who needs replacing this summer.