Salomon Kalou is a rare breed in football. Most players are either worshipped, hated or ignored by their own fans and others alike. Kalou, however, is not one Chelsea fans love to hate, nor is he one they love to love – it’s more of a hate to love, yet also hate to hate.
Kalou came to Stamford Bridge in 2006 from Feyenoord with a lot of promise and excitement surrounding the then 20-year-old. Rumours were of quick legs, even quicker feet and a knack for finding the back of the net, having scored 35 times in 67 appearances for his former club.
Five and a half years later we’re still waiting for him to fulfil that promise.
There can be no doubting Kalou has made positive and on occasion vital contributions during his time at Stamford Bridge. There have been many instances where he’s come off the bench to net equalisers and winners - not to mention the cross referred to in Chelsea fans’ song for him, which John Arne Riise kindly nodded into his own net to send Chelsea through to the 2008 Champions League final.
But overall it’s been a tale of frustration and unfulfilled promise for both player and fans. When Kalou shapes to shoot on the edge of the box, Chelsea fans in the corner of The Shed End recoil, while Drogba and co. throw their arms aloft in aggravation. He’s not the natural goalscorer the Chelsea faithful were promised. Nor, unfortunately, is he a candidate for the ‘second striker’ role, winning arial challenges and picking out eye-of-the-needle passes.
Kalou is not a player Chelsea fans love to hate, nor is he one they love to love – it’s more of a hate to love, yet also hate to hate.
Yet Blues’ fans can’t get on his back as many others would. His work-rate is second to none and many in a blue shirt over the years would have done well to follow Kalou’s lead in that respect. You know he’ll never give less than his all, whether he’s in the starting line-up or warming-up on the touchline. And as frustrating as Kalou can be, he’s been a superb impact sub for the Blues over the last few years.
Rumours have been circulating of late about a move away from Stamford Bridge, with Tottenham and Liverpool the latest clubs to be linked as potential suitors for the Ivorian. Chelsea fans may scoff at the thought of Salomon Kalou going to north London oor Merseyside, but in reality he could be a good signing for both teams and few genuine Chelsea fans would have bad words to say about him should he seek pastures new.
If Kalou were to leave Stamford Bridge, few Chelsea fans would be seen shedding tears at his departure, but the centre forward and his dedication and enthusiasm for the cause will be remembered with a fond smile by many.
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