Lille forward Salomon Kalou has confirmed he had an opportunity to join Arsenal in the winter window on a loan deal, but chose to focus on his career in France ahead of this summers World Cup.
The former Chelsea winger/centre forward had been linked with the Gunners throughout last summer and again in January as Arsene Wenger sought to reinforce his attacking options.
They ended up just bringing in injured central midfielder Kim Kallstrom who has yet to make his debut, and still their front line rests on Olivier Giroud’s shoulders.
The World Cup played heavily on the Ivorian’s mind when Arsenal came calling late on the 31st Jan, and he passed up the opportunity in order to remain in France to take part in a Cup final.
He said in an interview with L’Equipe:
A possible departure? Yes, to Arsenal. It could have been done as a last minute loan.
But I want to finish third, prepare for the World Cup and go to the Stade de France to compete in the final of the Coupe de France.
Arsenal struggled to secure many of their striking targets last summer and then in January, so to hear a player rejecting the Gunners is frustrating especially in the aftermath of the lackluster performance against Chelsea.
But we should not be going for the Salomon Kalou’s of the footballing world during the last hours of a month-long transfer window. It proves how desperate we were, a situation we should never have been in. Now were paying for it.
If Wenger remains beyond his current contract he has a big summer to substantially reinforce and make amends for his and the clubs incompetence to buy a centre forward this season.