Chelsea FC: 3 Reasons Giving Salomon Kalou a New Contract Was a Bad Idea
Nicely put, Salomon Kalou is like that itch that just won't go away.
Over the past few months, Kalou has fallen out of favor in the Blues' side, not only with André Villas-Boas, but also with the fans. Many of us were hopeful that with the Ivorian's contract expiring at the end of this season, we'd see him depart to another club. Many were so eager to get him out, in fact, that they didn't even mind if he went to a rival club, with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool said to be interested in his services should he leave Stamford Bridge next summer.
Well, all of our hopes and dreams, as it were, seem to have been crushed, with AVB confirming today that the club is in negotiations with Kalou over a new contract.
Here are three reasons I believe this was a bad idea...
He Adds Nothing to the Blues Side
There are some people who argue that Kalou is a good player to have in our squad because he has scored some "important goals" in the past. This may be true, but scoring "crucial goals" doesn't mean anything when your performances are not consistent—and consistently good, for that matter.
Kalou has scored a total of 54 goals for the Blues in 226 appearances in all competitions, but most of his playing time is off-the-bench play, rather than starting.
He started out this campaign poorly; after an embarrassingly bad performance in Chelsea's game against West Bromwich Albion at the Bridge—their second game of the season—AVB swiftly removed the striker in the 30th minute, after taking several irresponsible and downright foolish shots, rather than passing the ball to someone in a more advantageous position.
He then went on to continue his poor playing in Chelsea's Carling Cup match against Fulham. Typically a tournament where young, inexperienced players are fielded by both sides, the League Cup competition would surely be a place for the developed and mature Kalou to shine, right? Well, apparently not. He performed badly in that match too, making awkward runs and providing little help to his teammates.
And of course his most recent exploit was his major gaffe in Chelsea's Champions League match away at Valencia two weeks ago. After a hard fought 80 minutes, and with the Blues surprisingly up by one goal in a notoriously hard place to get a result, a win for the Blues looked all but certain. Then, at about the 80th minute, AVB decided to sub Kalou on, and everything went downhill from there.
His now infamous handball in the box in the dying minutes of the game gave Valencia a penalty kick, which they took successfully, sending the Blues home with just a draw in a game they surely deserved the three points from.
All of these things and many more just prove that 'kalouless Kalou' lives up to his name flawlessly.
We Simply Don't Need Him
The second reason keeping Kalou is a mistake is that we simply don't need him.
Another argument Kalou's supporters—and yes, he does have some surprisingly—make is that he's a good impact sub. Possibly, but with so many other strikers in our squad, and with Kalou arguably being the least talented of all of them, his retention is unnecessary and nonsensical.
With Torres, Drogba, Anelka, Lukaku, Sturridge, Mata, Malouda and Gael Kakuta (who is set to return from loan in a few months) all competing for a place in AVB's three-man front line, Kalou is, in my opinion, an afterthought.
Even in lower-level matches like FA and League Cup matches, Kalou looks set to take a backseat to the likes of Lukaku, Kakuta, Malouda, etc after his poor performances of late.
The depth-argument is a fallacious one, because even without Kalou in the squad, we have two or three players for every attacking position.
Yet another reason to offload him.
He Deserves First Team Football
As much as I dislike Kalou and want him out, the fact of the matter is, he could be a decent player in the right setting.
If he could be sold to a club that needs a forward for their first team, or even a backup forward for the bench, his sale would be beneficial to both sides.
I personally believe he would be a phenomenal player in a lower-level, mid-table club. At Chelsea—or any other Top Four club for that matter—he's just a small fish in a very big pond, and will always find it hard to compete with even the backups for playing time, and thus, his talent will be, and has been, wasted. But in a lower-level club, I believe he could be quite an exceptional player.
Staying at Chelsea isn't in Kalou's best interests. A transfer certainly wouldn't be prevented by our club, and it should be something he should seek in the near future if he wants to make in impact as a player before his career is over.
So in the end, I think the club offering Kalou a new deal is a mistake, not only for the club itself, but also for the player. His talent is essentially being wasted with sitting on the sideline, and although I believe he fundamentally isn't good enough to be a forward at any Top 4 club, he could very well be a real star elsewhere in the League.
I just hope, as I'm sure we all do, that whatever happens, things work out for the best for all parties involved.