Name: Salomon Kalou
Country: Ivory Coast
International Caps: 68
A name familiar to Premier League fans from his six year stint at Chelsea, Kalou has impressed in the last two seasons in Ligue 1 at Lille. In almost every transfer window since his departure from Stamford Bridge in 2012, the 28 year old has been linked with a return to England with either one of Arsenal or Tottenham. The forward is expected to line up this afternoon against Colombia in a fixture which will likely determine which nation tops Group C.
Kalou has enjoyed a prolific campaign in Ligue 1, helping himself to sixteen goals and six assists over the course of the season. In his time at Chelsea, the 28 year old was mainly utilised as an impact substitute and the forward has thrived in a consistent starting berth at Lille. At a team that has been stripped of superstar names such as Yohan Cabaye and Eden Hazard in recent seasons, Kalou has established as one of the club’s key performers.
A versatile forward, the Ivorian is able to fulfill almost any attacking role. Capable of using his pace to lead the line as the main striker, Kalou is frequently deployed in a wide role on either flank. The 28 year old provides a variety of options that would be welcomed by most managers.
At the age of 28, the Ivorian has accumulated a wealth of experience at club level and with the Ivory Coast. In his time at Stamford Bridge, Kalou lifted the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup and has now represented his country at two World Cup finals. For a fee rumoured to be as little as £3 million, Arsene Wenger or Mauricio Pochettino could acquire a seasoned international playing the best football of his career.
In evaluating Kalou’s career, there is a sense that he may operate best as a “big fish in a small pond.” Nevertheless, if the 28 year old delivers for his country this summer, there may be a few Premier League managers willing to take a chance on the former Chelsea man.