Arsenal are being linked with a summer move for former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou, with the current Lille player determined to move back to the Premier League at the end of the season.
Kalou still has two years left to run on his current contract, but has made up his mind that a return to England is the best move for his career. The Ivory Coast international claimed that he turned down a move to the Gunners in January because he is determined to help Lille qualify for the Champions League, but wouldn’t confirm his future beyond the end of the season.
Lille currently sit in third in Ligue 1, 19 points behind leaders Paris St Germain and six points adrift of second-placed Monaco. However, the Evening Standard confirms that the 28-year-old remains keen on a return to the English top flight following his six-year spell at Stamford Bridge, and could be available for as little as £2.5m.
West Ham and Tottenham have previously shown an interest but the Gunners are likely to be able to offer Champions League football next season should they make another move.
Jose Mourinho signed Kalou from Feyenoord in 2006 and the Blues are in the market for a striker but they are thought to be concentrating their attentions elsewhere for the time being.
Arsene Wenger is planning to address his forward line in the summer — assuming he signs a new deal to stay at Arsenal — and Kalou is believed to have been included on a long list of possible transfer targets.
Wenger is keen to sign a high-profile forward having failed with bids for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain, who eventually joined Napoli from Real Madrid, and so Kalou would be expected to compete for a place alongside another potential new signing, Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo, with Nicklas Bendtner certain to leave.
Kalou scored 60 goals in 254 appearances for Chelsea and has 25 League goals in 59 appearances for Lille including a stoppage-time winner against Guingamp on Sunday.
The Ivory Coast international told the World Football programme on BBC World Service: “There has been a lot of talking about me going back to England. I had an amazing time with Chelsea and I always keep that good memory with me.
“If I have the chance to go back, I would love to, because it’s the most exciting league in the world so I would like to try it again. I have to focus on doing well here and then the World Cup is coming, so I have to focus on that, too.
“Whatever team comes for me after the World Cup, I can decide where I can develop as a player, where I can have an impact, because it’s important to go to a team who suit me and who give me the opportunity to excel.
“I’m having a great time here. We want to qualify for the Champions League, we want to win the French Cup. I need to keep fit and go to the World Cup with a lot of ambition because there is a good opportunity for the Ivory Coast there.”
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