During the most recent winter transfer window there were plenty of stories linking Lille OSC forward Salomon Kalou with a return to the Premier League, with Arsenal heavily interested in the Ivorian. The former Cheslea forward even admitted recently that Arsenal did make a late bid on deadline day, but he turned down the move to concentrate on helping Lille qualify for Europe.
Now, with the 28-year-old forward set to leave France at the end of the season, Sky Sports Italia have linked him with a move to Italian side AS Roma, reuniting him with the coach who brought him to Lille, Rudi Garcia.
Kalou would be available for a reasonable bid, with his contract up in 2016 and with Lille seemingly having no interest in extending the deal due to his huge wage demands – over €2 million a year – the 2011 French champions would not look for more than €3 million for someone to take him off their hands.
When you look at Kalou’s goal record in France it is easy to see why clubs are continuing to show interest, he has scored 26 goals over two seasons and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored more than Kalou during 2013. The problem with Kalou is his work rate and actual ability away from putting the ball in the back of the net.
If Roma or Arsenal are mainly looking for a penalty-box striker, then the stats favour the Ivory Coast striker. But that is not his game, he drifts wide, he drops deep and quite often he can go missing from the less than glamorous games.
Rudi Garcia has had great success so far in recruiting ex-Lille players to Roma this season, and if he can get the same result out of Kalou that he has with former Arsenal forward Gervinho, then it would be a great move for both parties.
The name of Salomon Kalou is not one that the Arsenal fans would be delighted to see at the Emirates next season. They want a big name top-class striker, but for less than £3 million, it is a fairly low risk move. He could score 10 goals a season if his mind is on the job.
Consistency has never been his strong point, and being the main attacking option at Lille has exposed that. Both Roma and Arsenal should proceed with caution.