After the transfer window had closed, French side FC Metz signed former Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda on a free transfer. Before his arrival, Metz had only managed to win once in five games, but just 180 match minutes later Malouda’s influence has already made a huge difference and his new side sit sixth in Ligue 1 with two wins in their last two games.
The 34-year-old’s contract is just until the end of the season, but if he continues to influence the young side in the way in which he has over the past two weeks, there is a good chance that Albert Cartier will want to exercise the option of the extra year.
His debut came at home against Bastia and he helped his teammates impress in a 3-1 victory. Malouda played in the midfield, but not on the left as Chelsea fans would remember. Metz play 4-1-4-1 and Malouda played one position in from the left, not quite as a defensive midfielder, but just behind the more attacking Sergey Krivets.
Even more impressive was the second win that came on Wednesday night in Brittany. Seven years have passed since the former Chateauroux and Guingamp man played in Ligue 1, winning four league titles with Olympique Lyonnais between 2004 and 2007 and around 11 years had passed since the World Cup finalist stepped foot in Guingamp’s Stade Roudourou – they will be hoping it will be a while before he comes back again.
Malouda played 72 minutes as Metz picked up a crucial 1-0 away win against Guingamp. The midfielder put in a strong defensive performance, helping keep the home side at bay, but also managed to get off a couple of shots before being replaced in the second half.
His impact will depend on his fitness and ability, but he will add more off the pitch than he likely will off it. Metz have an excellent group of young players, some of them have helped the side progress from the third division all the way to Ligue 1.
Metz’s talented youngsters, like Yeni N’Gbakoto have been quoted in saying how excited they are to play with Malouda. When he was introduced to the squad, some of them looked starstruck, but a few weeks of training together and that will diminish.
At 34 years old, Malouda could still have some impact on the pitch, but with his experience and previous time in Ligue 1, it is a signing that could just help newly promoted Metz win their place in Ligue 1 for next season.