At the present time Chelsea may be sitting top of the Premier League with just five games to go but their lack of involvement in the other main competition for a big club, the Champions League, has led to many reports about a summer clear-out at Stamford Bridge. This has mainly been to do with the need for the club to replace the squad’s older players but one name that could be at the top of the list is that of a youngster- and that is Salomon Kalou.
At present Chelsea are well set in the forward department and would be looking to get rid of fringe players before further strengthening in that area. It is clear that Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka are the team’s established strikers and have shown this season that they can work as a pair- either in Carlo Ancelotti’s favoured diamond system or in the alternative 4-3-3 system. Considering that both are scoring goals frequently, and with Drogba amongst the best strikers on the planet, it becomes hard for the likes of Kalou to break in to the team. A look at Chelsea’s current strikers would seem to suggest that Gael Kakuta and Daniel Sturridge would be the next in line and it seems the 2010/11 campaign is where we will be seeing more of the young prodigy. With the way Chelsea operate there is every chance that the summer will see some prominent deals in the transfer market and that a striker would be crucial to join up with Anelka and Drogba. In doing this it would seem that sacrifices would have to be made and Kalou may find that his future lies elsewhere.
Even the most ardent Chelsea fans will recognise that going through another campaign with only two main strikers is not practical- it is lucky for them that Drogba and Anelka have performed admirably. Would their fans consider Salomon Kalou anything more than a decent player, but not a world beater? Generally the Ivory Coast international is one who will only really be called upon when injuries or poor form dictate. He has not really figured that much in Ancelotti’s plans. In over three years at Stamford Bridge the former Feyenoord player has never really managed to secure a consistent run in the first team, and although he is still only 24, the evidence from Ancelotti is that he is unwilling to give Kalou a number of games from the start. The mention of his former club must make Kalou wonder as to why the form shown for the Dutch club is not being repeated at Chelsea. He scored 35 goals in 67 league games for his previous employers.
Kalou’s previous links with Arsenal, just over a year ago, will be remembered by the Blues faithful when he came out with some unexpected comments. He said: “Wenger said he thought of signing me? That’s an honour for me, an honour. Because he is a very great coach and I know that every single player in the world dreams of playing for him. I have a lot of respect for him, he is one of the best coaches in the world so why not?” Clearly the comments were not damaging for his immediate future at that stage because he is about to complete another season with the club but has once again failed to hold down a first-team place. What it also shows is that Kalou knows that by not getting in to the team regularly this season he may have to consider his future irrespective of what Chelsea are thinking about in terms of the player. Usually when a player says what Kalou said about Arsenal they can be interpreted in various ways but a move to one of Chelsea’s main rivals seems very doubtful. A move across London may not be on the cards but there are plenty of players who have been in Kalou’s position who are more suited to other Premiership clubs- if indeed he does leave Chelsea and wants to make a move to a lesser club.
The Ivory Coast striker may be someone who can also play as a winger, and has shown glimpses of his pace, valuable goals and also assists, but ultimately the players in front of him have that much more that they can add to the team and Kalou has suffered as a result of that. A move for Kalou could work well in the interest of both parties. He is probably going to end up at a club that can guarantee him a starting place week in, week out and Chelsea can recoup the approximate £5m figure that they paid for him, not that they are struggling financially, and use it towards a replacement player. A lot of players will not quite make their marks at the top clubs, and that will continue to happen, but Kalou is the type of player that has a lot to offer, and a move away from Chelsea will give him the opportunity to show that.
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