Struggling to find a new club, forced to train with the reserves and below a number of youngsters in the Stamford Bridge pecking order, it is amazing to see how drastically Florent Malouda’s career has shifted. The man once considered a pivotal part of Chelsea’s attacking force is now almost forgotten aside from the occasional media outburst. Moves to Brazil failed to materialise and now he is left, rotting in the reserves, seeing out the remainder of his contract.

We saw a quiet January despite the Chelsea transfer news and rumours and the only player moving to the club was in fact a forward but instead of reconciling Malouda, he has been outcast into the U-21 squad.

Signed from Lyon in 2007 for around £13 million Malouda’s debut was extremely encouraging, netting in the Community Shield against Manchester United. Despite only racking up two league goals in his debut season the signs were there for Malouda and Chelsea fans had much to be positive about. The following season Malouda’s goal tally didn’t increase by too many but the goals that he did score were of great importance. He played a vital role in the club’s FA Cup victory over Everton and he was instrumental in the defeat of Liverpool in the Champions League. Chelsea’s number 15 had an impressive end to the 08/09 season and it came as no surprise to see the Frenchmen linked with a move abroad. Both AC Milan and Barcelona were rumoured to be interested but Malouda showed his commitment to the club by signing the deal which he is currently trying to run down.

It was the 2009/10 season and the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti that saw the development of Malouda as a player and a complete transformation in reference to the player’s importance to the team. Employed on the left hand side of Carlo’s new diamond formation Malouda had a sensational season and was desperately unlucky to be left out of the team of the season. Alongside Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard Malouda was instrumental to our title success and his improved performances are reflected in his stats for the season. In 33 appearances Malouda scored 12 times and assisted a further 10. 2010/11 was equally for successful for Malouda even if the season ultimately cost Carlo Ancelotti his job. The French international managed to add one goal to his tally from last season as he finished as our top scorer in the league, ahead of the likes of Lampard, Drogba and Anelka. His impressive displays were extremely important in both campaigns from 2009-11 and he was undoubtedly a key player but yet suddenly his star faded just as quickly as it had risen.

The signing of Juan Mata fuelled speculation that Malouda would be on his way out of Stamford Bridge but the winger yet again expressed his fierce loyalty to the club. He stated on numerous occasions his desire to stay at Chelsea until after the 2014 World Cup yet last season his game time was extremely limited. It took a whole year of being virtually frozen out for Malouda to decide he wanted a transfer away but his excessive wage demands have blocked any sort of move. His refusal to agree a move away has seen him exiled to the reserves forced to see out the remainder of his contract as far away from the first team as possible. Is this right? A player who has ultimately shown the club a strong degree of loyalty being treated in this fashion. There have been many times where he deserved a game or two over someone like Kalou but most Chelsea fans will agree there was a certain edge to his game that was lacking under AVB when compared to his play under Ancelotti. Whether it be age or a change in tactical approach the Malouda Chelsea fans saw over the last couple of seasons is a far cry from the winger that was terrorising defences across the country with Didier Drogba. Most seem quick to forget the man who was vital in delivering our last Premier League title and despite all that has gone on over the last 18 months, I’m just not convinced that’s right.

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