Salomon Kalou has told German outlet Berliner Kurier that he and Aston Villa tried to get a deal over the line for the Ivory Coast attacker to move back to the Premier League right until the deadline – only for a work permit to scupper a move.
Kalou, 34, has had a very good career in England, France, Holland and now Germany, where he is contracted to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin until the end of the season. Coming through the ranks at Feyenoord, he went on to make 79 senior appearances.
In that time, the 97-time Ivory Coast international scored 40 goals and that earned him a move to Chelsea in 2006. Six years later, he left with a Premier League and Champions League medal – joining French side Lille.
An excellent stint in which he scored 34 goals in two years saw him move to Germany with Hertha Berlin, where he remains until the summer. Villa, and indeed former Chelsea teammate and now Villa coach John Terry, tried to sign him last month.
“England would have appealed to me very much,” Kalou said. “I got a call from my good friend John Terry, who is now coaching Aston Villa. At that time he was our captain at Chelsea and a real leader. I would have loved to play under him.”
“We tried until the end if there was a possibility. But I’m not a European, I don’t play in the national team anymore. That was the problem.”
TBR’s view – Would Kalou have been a good signing for Villa?
Villa did manage to get a new striker to the club before deadline day, bringing in Spanish forward Borja Baston to the club from Swansea City. Baston has struggled on these shores, since his move to the Welsh club.
Hardly an inspiring signing, Kalou would have been a much better option. Huge Premier League experience and a winner at Chelsea – he scored 36 goals and created 25 more in 156 Premier League matches – mostly playing out wide.
He would have been available on the cheap, and his experience may have proved crucial in keeping Villa in the top flight. But due to his retirement from international duty, a move back to England has scuppered a move.