|2009/10 Premier League|
Salomon Kalou Bio Send To FriendA pacy and dangerous performer, Chelsea forward Kalou is a player who has developed greatly since his surprise £9 million signing from Feyenoord in May 2006, and he remains firmly in the Blues' first-team plans. Kalou can play on the wing or in a deep-lying role, making him a versatile weapon.
His Chelsea career started slowly yet in the second half of his debut season he began to impress. That improvement continued during the 2007-08 season when he regularly featured on the left wing of a front three or as an impact sub, a role he is still used in by Carlo Ancelotti.
Kalou, who scored 35 goals in 65 appearances for Feyenoord, was born in Ivory Coast but failed in a bid to obtain Dutch nationality in order to play for Holland at the 2006 World Cup. He eventually opted to play for the Ivory Coast and finally made his debut in February 2007 in a friendly against Guinea. He represented the Elephants at the 2008 Olympics, netting two goals in four games, and the 2008 African Nations Cup, scoring a screamer against Nigeria in the opening match.
Strengths: Blistering pace and a willingness to run at players and take them on. Kalou is a perfect player for the counter-attacking football the Ivory Coast are likely to employ against the bigger teams at the World Cup.
Weaknesses: Goalscoring. Though he was a prolific scorer at Feyenoord, his ability to find the net appears to have waned.
Career High: Winning the Johan Cruyff Award for best young talent in the Eredivisie in 2005. Kalou joined the ranks of past winners Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars and Clarence Seedorf, as well as becoming only the second non-Dutch player to win the award after Jon Dahl Tomasson in 1996.
Career Low: Having his application for Dutch citizenship rejected after an intense media campaign to get him playing for the Holland national team failed. Holland's loss is Ivory Coast's gain.
Style: Pacy winger-cum-striker, happy to take on players and a vital part of any counter-attack.
Quotes: "Salomon is an important player for this club. He is always well motivated and works hard at his game. Because of this, I'm sure he will become an even more important player for us in the future." Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, October 2009.
Trivia: Kalou's brother, Bonaventure, also plays professional football - for Dutch team Heerenveen. Bonaventure played at the 2006 World Cup for the Elephants and had Kalou obtained Dutch citizenship, the two could have been the first brothers in history to face each other at a World Cup finals, with the Dutch drawn in the same group as the Ivory Coast.
Soccernet says: The pacy Kalou will prove the perfect attacking foil for Didier Drogba. The fact that the two are so accustomed to playing together at Chelsea will be hugely beneficial to the Elephants, and expect this to be potentially one of the most potent strike forces at the finals.