In 2012, fresh from Champions League success, Chelsea sought to bolster its squad and bring in fresh talent. Consequentially, many long serving players were offloaded. Among them was the talented Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou who secured a free transfer to the French side Lille.
In the French league, Kalou’s career has received a fresh boost. In the two seasons he has appeared in a total of 59 games and has scored 28 goals. The experienced striker has comfortably settled into French football and is rediscovering his glory days.
Meanwhile at his former club, stark problems with the club strikers are arising; which lead us to the question, what if Kalou had not been sold?
The main problem with the Blues’ strikers seem to be versatility. While Torres with his quick nimble feat has often wreaked havoc in the opposition’s defence, he has often been found lacking when it come to finishing. His ‘striker-instincts’ have often failed him and have been a major cause for his mediocrity.
Ba and Eto offer boisterous presence in the offence, yet the two forwards have failed to form formidable partnerships with other players, as is necessary to be successful. The three players haven’t been all lacklustre though; Eto’s goal against Arsenal, Ba’s against PSG and Torres’ against Atletico have been important landmarks in Chelsea’s incumbent campaign.
Meanwhile at Lille, Kalou has been spearheading his club’s campaign. His versatility has been outstanding in all games; his passing, finishing and dribbling skills have been at the heart of Lille’s attack.
With 14 goals and 5 assists from 36 games this season, he has become a formidable striker and an indelible part of the team. His cognizance and teamwork have been at the heart of the game.
But coming to the earlier question, had Kalou stayed on at Chelsea and played as he is playing now, Chelsea’s campaign would certainly have taken on a whole new aspect. Throughout the season a very big weakness has been redolent in Chelsea’s game and that is misfiring strikers.
Although, in the big high-profile games the Blues have been at their best and secured points, yet in the ‘smaller’ games Chelsea have faltered and it is these games that have cost Chelsea silverware. Perhaps a catalyst like Kalou could have upended the drab moments. His passing and finishing at Chelsea were much valued, even in his last season (some will remember his contribution to the 2012 Champions League success) when he had fallen out of favour.
But what has been done is done. Kalou isn’t coming back, Chelsea need to focus on new young strikers. All in all, the present season has really been a boost for Kalou’s career, and as the sun sets on his playing days, he can rest assured of top flight football for his last few years.
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