West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is reportedly interested in former Chelsea forward Salomon Kalou. Kalou left Chelsea last year to go to the French club Lille and had quite a good season with “Les Dogues,” racking up 16 goals in all competitions, making him their leading goal scorer.
West Ham made their return to the Premier League last year, after a brief one year absence, and were relatively successful finishing 10th with 46 points. They finished the season strong, only losing two of their last nine Premier League games. While they achieved their objective last year of staying in the Premier League, they hope to make reinforcements and improve. West Ham’s biggest weakness last year was the lack of a consistent goal scorer and if they get Kalou, they hope he will be able to help solve that problem.
Last year, Kalou had 14 league goals which was four more than any West Ham player had. Only two West Ham players racked up more than five league goals in 2012/2013, Andy Carroll with 7 and Kevin Nolan with 10. They only scored 45 as a team. Kalou was able to get a goal every 157 minutes, much better than any West Ham player last season. Now there is a big difference between Ligue 1 and the Premier League, but if you look at his time at Chelsea, the last time he played major minutes, in 2010/2011, he had almost the exact same minutes per goal ratio (156 minutes per goal instead of 157).
Kalou’s also quite a good finisher with a 20% chance conversion rate, as opposed to Andy Carroll’s 11% conversion rate. His finishing was something else that showed in the Premier League as he had a 19% conversion rate, in 2010/2011. His passing was actually better in the Premier League, at 80% than it was in Ligue 1, at only 75%.
Kalou’s dribbling was good in both Ligue 1 and the Premier League as well, which could be crucial since there is a decent chance that in Sam Allardyce’s 4-2-3-1 Kalou will play as a winger with Andy Carroll spearheading the attack. If Kalou does come back to London, something that may seriously hurt his success is that he has never been a particularly good crosser. In West Ham’s system, they cross a lot and use the big man in the middle, which is likely to be Andy Carroll, and try to put good ball’s into the box and try to win the knock downs and then win the resulting second balls. Kalou will need to improve his delivery from the wide areas if he goes to Upton Park.
If this move was to happen, then it could be a huge coup for West Ham because he could be the clinical finisher they needed desperately last season, as they converted only 12% of their chances as a team last year. If West Ham are able to bring in a consistent goal scorer, whether it is Kalou or not, it could be a big help for them moving higher up the table. If Kalou was to come back to London, he would hope to have a more successful season than he did in his last season in the English capital. This could be a great move for both West Ham and Kalou if it were to happen.
Kalou’s stats from his time at Lille were taken from WhoScored.