Three years ago, Florent Malouda was voted Chelsea’s player of the season in their 2009-10 Premier League title winning season. Now he finds himself seeing out the last month of his contract, having trained all season with the under-21’s. But will he have the chance for a second coming in the Premiership next season or will his time in England dwindle to nothingness?
Malouda has not been involved with Chelsea’s first team this season after requesting a transfer last summer summer. A subsequent move out of England broke down and he was told by the club he would be training with the under-21’s for the rest of the season. At the time, he tweeted a picture of the under-21’s headquarters with the caption ‘This is where I’ll train in my last season for the blues!’.
Malouda was linked to Arsenal, Juventus, Anzhi Makhachkala and former club Lyon last summer, but was reportedly unwilling to lower the £80,000 a week wages that he is currently earning at Chelsea. This summer Chelsea will not earn a penny from his departure, but despite this Malouda refuses to be made out as the bad guy, ‘The strategy they use is to make me look like a player seeking substantial compensation,” he says.
He has admitted that this season has been his toughest yet. “If you are excluded for one year, it is very, very long. You must be armed mentally. All this is done to break me mentally, but in reality it motivates me enormously.”
And that motivation may be the reason why Malouda could be an attractive buy for sides this summer. At 32 he still has some time left at the top level and would bring undoubted quality and experience to sides outside the top four.
His time in England has so far been successful winning three FA Cups, to go with his Premier and Champions League winner medals. Add to that 80 international appearances and nine goals for France, including a World Cup final. And that is a pretty impressive résumé.
Although he has been training regularly, his match sharpness and fitness may take longer than normal to peak next season after such a long time out of first team level. But if he was to return to that level then he could prove a worthy risk for any perspective buyers.
So what clubs might be interested in him? Well, Arsenal were reportedly interested last year but put off by his wage demands. If Malouda were to lower his salary demands, and in all probability he will have to, then maybe Arsenal will look again.
But if he just wants to get back to playing week-in week-out then more avenues could open up. Newcastle have already shown they don’t mind signing a Frenchman so that could be a good fit. While his style of football could be well suited to sides like Swansea, Southampton or even Fulham who have also shown their financial intent by luring Dimitar Berbatov to the club last year.