PLAYER PROFILE – SALOMON KALOU
Ivorian forward Salomon Kalou was signed to a three year deal by Chelsea, on the 30th May, 2006, becoming the second new addition of the summer after Michael Ballack. The 20 year old speed machine, was hoping to play for Holland in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals, but his dreams were shattered after the Dutch Minister for Immigration denied him the Dutch citizenship that would allow Kalou to represent Holland this summer. He has since decided to represent his country of birth, Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast), a team that includes his brother Bonaventure Kalou.
Salomon Kalou has played most of his club football for Feyenoord Rotterdam in the Dutch Eredivise, with the exception of his first full season, where, after two games for Feyenoord, he was loaned out to Eerste Divisie (the Dutch second tier) side Excelsior, also of Rotterdam. During the 2003-2004 season at Excelsior, he scored 4 goals in 11 appearances, turning 18 during the season. Kalou originally joined Feyenoord when he was just 15; his brother Bonaventure, now of Paris-St Germain and previously Auxerre, was already at the Rotterdam club.
Born on the 5th August, 1985 in Oumé, Côte d’Ivoire, Salomon Kalou is an incredibly quick striker, who can play centrally, on either flank or as a second striker and can quite easily outrun defenders and finish off through balls. He also has the dribbling ability to take on fullbacks and is highly rated by those that matter, hence Dutch coach Marco van Basten’s attempt to obtain Kalou Dutch citizenship before the World Cup, a move supported by Dutch footballing legend Johan Cruyff.
For the 2004-2005 season, the still raw forward returned from his loan spell, to play his first full Eredivisie season, with Feyenoord. He played a total of 31 games, scoring 20 goals, a hugely impressive tally for someone in their first top flight season. Another good season and some of the bigger sides would come knocking. The likes of Tottenham Hotspur were expressing interest, but a move at that stage of his career would surely be more hindrance than help.
During 2005, Salomon Kalou received the “Johan Cruyff Award,” for the best young player in Dutch football. After 35 Eredivisie appearances in 2005-2006, Kalou finished with 15 goals, down on the previous seasons tally. Côte d’Ivoire coach Henri Michel, wanted to add Kalou to his squad, but, having already been guaranteed a spot in the Holland World Cup squad by Marco van Basten, Salomon applied for Dutch citizenship.
When Côte d’Ivoire was drawn against Holland for the FIFA World Cup Finals group stages, the strange possibility of the two brothers playing against each other occurred. But, for Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, it would have happened. After he was denied citizenship, Salmon Kalou expressed his desire to play for the country of his birth, alongside his brother, after the FIFA World Cup Finals.
José Mourinho’s desire to add Kalou to his squad wasn’t as public as most would expect with a new striker, with the Shevchenko saga consuming the headlines. Peter Kenyon had his eye on the Ivorian for quite a while, especially after Kalou was recommended by scouts.
After a total of 39 goals in 79 appearances in Dutch club football, Salomon Kalou signed for Chelsea, for a fee thought to be in the region of £5m.