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Long-term target back on Arsenal's radar?

Kalou

Arsene Wenger is reportedly interested in sealing a cut-price move for Salomon Kalou in the summer should he remain in the Gunners hotseat.

 

Sebastien Frey and Hatem Trabelsi are perhaps the two most prominent examples of perennial Arsenal targets from days gone by. But with the latest link of Salomon Kalou to the Gunners, the Ivorian is fast becoming another addition to an infamous list.

Arsene Wenger's interest in Kalou dates back to his early Chelsea days, after being impressed with the now 28-year-old's adaptation to English football having arrived from Feyenoord in the Eredivisie, where he had thrived alongside former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt.

His spell at Stamford Bridge would yield vast tangible success in the form of a Premier league title, the club's inaugural Champions League triumph, four FA Cups, a League Cup and a Community Shield to boot. 

His departure for French football, Lille in particular, was designed to re-boot a career which was on the wane towards the end of his Blues spell.

In some respects, Kalou has achieved just that. The fact he received the No.8 jersey - the same shirt he dons for his country - upon arrival at LOSC from then-manager Rudi Garcia was enough to suggest the Ivorian had been earmarked for a first-team role, something he had found increasingly difficult to come by during the latter stages of his time at Chelsea.

Lille had suffered from the departures of Gervinho the summer beforehand and the double whammy of golden boy Eden Hazard trading places with Kalou at Chelsea and Joe Cole's return to English football.

In stepped Kalou to score a commendable 14 goals in 28 games and while this season has hardly mirrored his slightly more prolific form of last term, Kalou is still one of the top scorers in Ligue 1 this time around.

Indeed, only six players have netted more times this season in France's premier division, but this fails to paint the entire picture of Kalou's fortunes at Stadium Lille-Metropole as fans of the French club will attest.

His low defensive work-rate, in particular, is one major flaw in Kalou's game while he possesses a selfishness and although that has, admittedly, helped contribute to his goal haul, his tally is one which perhaps provides a false dawn.

Four of his goals this season have come from the penalty spot, including a brace of spot-kicks in the hat-trick he plundered against the distant basement boys AC Ajaccio, while the other goal owed as much to the defensive inadequacies of the home side in Lille's 3-2 win then it did to Kalou's predatory instincts in the final third.

His standing in this Lille side has also taken on a different level. Whereas at Chelsea he was liberated by the fact he was considered an understudy to Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, at the French outfit he has become the go-to guy when the chips are down. Often enough he has been found wanting with his decision-making and end product in the final third.

Kalou was Arsenal's reported target at the end of the January transfer window, as they desperately sought forward reinforcements to ease the burden on Olivier Giroud. A deal was not forthcoming, mainly due to Kalou's wish to help his current side qualify for Europe.

In third place - and three points ahead of AS Saint-Etienne - Kalou could realise his goal at the season's end. But whether or not he comes to achieve a return to the Premier League, in particular with the Gunners, is another proposition altogether.

There is some logic behind Wenger's consideration towards a bid. Kalou, of course, would require no bedding-in period given his Premier League pedigree and would add a dash of pace to a ponderous Arsenal front-line, while his versatility of being able to play centrally and on the flanks is also surely of appeal to Wenger.

The perennial linking of Kalou to Arsenal seems an easily-generated rumour but, while he may prove an adequate signing for one of the smaller clubs, the Ivorian's Premier League return should not see him ultimately end up in an Arsenal shirt.

Instead, this rumour may just end up alongside those regarding the Freys and Trabelsis of the footballing world.

Should Arsenal swoop for Salomon Kalou this summer?

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