Florent Malouda was José Mourinho’s last purchase at Chelsea before the Portuguese manager quit in 2007. The Frenchman had just been crowd Players’ Player of the Year after an impressive season for Lyon and he came to England with a big pedigree.
At 27 years of age, Malouda commanded a big price tag of £13.5 million but it was only two years later in the 2009/10 season where he came into his own. The ex-Lyon winger had only notched eight goals in 52 appearances across two seasons for the West Londoners but his next two seasons produced what the Chelsea faithful had been waiting so long to see.
Malouda scored 12 goals and assisted another 10 in 33 league games which heavily contributed to Carlo Ancelotti’s men wresting the title away from Manchester United at the end of the 2009/10 campaign. One theory behind the Frenchman’s inspired run of form was Ancelotti introducing the diamond formation, this saw Malouda play a more central role compared to his, at times isolated left wing position. This allowed him to have more of an influence on games and was even voted Player of the Month in March 2010.
Florent Malouda’s fine form continued into the 2010/11 season and despite Chelsea failing to reclaim the Premier League title, Malouda did repay the faith shown in him with another 13 goals playing a part in all of The Blues 38 league games. However one of the main flaws in the man from Cayenne’s game is his inconsistency. He’d only reached double figures in a campaign twice before signing for Chelsea in an otherwise patchy few years with Lyon and formerly Guingamp before his break-through season in 2006/07.
Another reason for his erratic performances could be the regularity that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich disposed of managers. Since Malouda signed with Chelsea in 2007 he had seen eight managers come and go before José Mourinho returned this summer. The instability at the club has been masked by trophies; despite Abramovich’s embarrassment of riches he hasn’t been able to find the perfect remedy. He’s sacked managers such as Carlo Ancelotti who won the FA Cup and League double and Roberto Di Matteo who was at the forefront of the clubs greatest hour winning the Champions League.
As Malouda is now in the autumn of his career it is important he has a figure of fidelity guiding the team, so he can perform to the capabilities that saw him go to two World Cups, and perhaps even get the attention of Didier Deschamps for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Chelsea’s Champions League victory in 2012 completed an impressive trophy haul in a career that has seen Malouda claim Ligue 1 no fewer than four times, a five-time French Cup winner and only the League Cup evades his resume in England.
However, the triumph over Bayern Munich last year turned out to be Malouda’s last competitive game for Chelsea, as he was frozen out at the start of the 2012/13 season and forced to train with the Under 21s. This was due to disagreements over wages which saw the Frenchman unwilling to back down from his £80,000 a week pay packet as Chelsea tried to offload the French star.
Malouda’s Chelsea torment has now come to an end with a move to Turkish outfit Trabzonspor. In a league which is dominated by the financial affluence of Fenerbahçe and current Champions Galatasaray, this might seem a modest move by a man who has been amongst the best players in Europe.
Despite both these clubs able to bring in big names such as Didier Drogba, Raul Meireles, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt to name a few which have graced the biggest stages in European football, this spending power is rarely tamed by rational thought with complete disregard for financial discipline.
The strong financial position of the country that Finance minister Mehmet Simsek preached in June 2013 was a ‘model economy’ is far cry from the instability of Turkish football.
The increased indebtedness combined with the poorer sporting performance compared to the Russian and Dutch leagues accentuate the lack of transparency in the Turkish game and put the clubs in danger of falling foul of the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
The spending power of Galatasaray is cause for concern especially if you take the deal to sign Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan. Inter were very generous putting the Dutchman on a €6 million a year contract. However, in January 2013 due to poor performances they decided to cut their losses.
Inter Milan were ranked the twelfth most valuable club last year and are rated eighth in Deloitte’s money league. The fact that Turkish clubs that can’t compete anywhere near the likes of Inter financially means taking on large costs distancing themselves further from the FFP stipulations.
This is because the revenues that Turkish clubs generate that can’t cope with deals of this magnitude. 34% of the total revenue is monopolised by the big three sides, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş – the rest of league rely solely on broadcasting rights. When these revenues do not cover expenses they rely on bank loans that increase fiscal costs.
These new revelations and problems come after the 2011 match fixing scandal that riddles the league, giving it a negative impression from all sides of global football.
In the case of Malouda and his new club Trabzonspor, the arrivals of both he and former Chelsea team-mate José Bosingwa has put the futures of star players Marc Janko, Didier Zokora and Sol Bamba in doubt as Trabzonspor look to cut costs. They have already released defender Marek Čech from his contract, but the risk of losing €7million has meant the management have had to keep them on.
Malouda will be the new focal point of the Trabzonspor attack and will be expected to recapture some of his form that saw him claim Chelsea’s Players’ Player of the year in 2010. I’m sure there will be some sort of adaption period, a new country and a new culture for a man who has spent six seasons in England. The 33 year old hasn’t played much football after spending last season with the youth team, but the wealth of experience he will provide combined with the silverware the Frenchman has on his CV will only benefit his new club as they venture into Europe.