Marseille have not yet given up on signing Mario Balotelli, but they are monitoring Olivier Giroud as a backup and have spoken to the Chelsea striker's representatives, according to reports from France.
Earlier this month it seemed inevitable that Marseille would raid their Ligue 1 rivals Nice for Balotelli, but talks have stalled to the extent that OM are looking elsewhere for an alternative forward option.
They have settled on Giroud, who was linked with a move back to his home country earlier this summer. RMC Sport journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi claims that Marseille have spoken to Giroud's entourage over the last few days.
"In addition to the Balotelli case, Marseille have secretly re-opened their pursuit of Olivier Giroud in the last few days," wrote Bouhafsi. "Marseille have started discussions with the player's entourage."
Giroud faces an uncertain future at Chelsea after the arrival of Maurizio Sarri and he may see this as an opportunity to ensure that he gets game time next season.
However, Bouhafsi made it clear that Marseille's pursuit of Giroud did not necessarily mean that they had given up on signing Balotelli, only that they were keeping tabs on two targets at once.
Il faut bien lire « en marge ». En clair, l’OM discute en plus du dossier Balotelli et active plusieurs pistes en même temps. Un autre nom aussi qui n’a pas filtré encore.— Mohamed Bouhafsi (@mohamedbouhafsi) July 28, 2018
"To be clear, Marseille are having these discussions in addition to the Balotelli case and are monitoring several targets at the same time," Bouhafsi clarified.
It has been quite the year for Giroud, who joined Chelsea from Arsenal in January and established himself as the first choice striker ahead of Alvaro Morata.
He also won the World Cup with France, and yet he could find himself moving on to his third club of the year by the end of the summer transfer window.