Arsenal have been told by French club Lille that they must pay £5 million to secure the signature of Chelsea flop Salomon Kalou this summer. The Gunners could have snapped up the Ivory Coast forward for £2.5 million in January due to a clause in the player’s contract, but that no longer applies.
This latest news comes courtesy of the Daily Star. However, Arsene Wenger may opt to meet the new asking price for Kalou, who has scored an impressive 30 goals in his two seasons in Ligue 1.
Kalou favours Arsenal move
Arsenal are one of several Premier League clubs keen to sign 28-year-old Kalou. The Gunners’ north London rivals Tottenham, along with Merseyside duo Liverpool and Everton, are also believed to be interested in bringing the African forward back to England.
Kalou is keen to return to the Premier League after a two-year absence and favours a move to the Emirates Stadium over any of the other interested clubs. Wealthy French outfit AS Monaco are also reportedly monitoring the situation.
Kalou has rebuilt reputation in Ligue 1
Kalou was much-maligned during his six-year spell at Chelsea, but has rebuilt his reputation in France’s top domestic league. Last season he scored 16 goals in Ligue 1, making him the third highest scorer in the entire league.
Although Wenger has agreed a deal to sign dynamic right-sided winger Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, Kalou tends to play from the opposite flank, and would be a useful option for the Gunners heading into another demanding and competitive campaign.
Kalou: Re-born star?
Wenger cannot guarantee Kalou first-team football
If Kalou wants regular first-team football, he will almost certainly back out of any future negotiations with the Gunners. Wenger already possesses several quality options in wide areas, and competition for places will become even fiercer once the world-class Sanchez, who is guaranteed a starting berth, arrives at the Emirates Stadium.
Kalou may be reluctant to return to London if it means becoming a small fish in a big pond once again. At Lille, the forward is one of the club’s key players, and has flourished with the added responsibility on his shoulders.
Room for Kalou and Loic Remy?
Recent reports suggest that Wenger is intent on signing Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy, who possesses similar attributes to Kalou and is 18 months younger, this summer.
The France international has also proven his credentials in the Premier League, while question marks would still be hovering over Kalou if he made a return to England. Whether there is room for both of them at the Emirates Stadium is doubtful. And Wenger will need to decide which player he regards as the better fit with his squad, which is expected to challenge for next season’s Premier League title.