‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
<P>Feyenoord striker Salomon Kalou has signed a four-year deal with English titleholders Chelsea. An agreement was reached on the transfer, which was announced Tuesday, after negotiations between the clubs. Kalou (21) scored no fewer than 42 goals for the Rotterdammers in just 83 appearances. ‘I didn’t dream of joining such a big club as early as this,’ admitted a beaming Salomon Kalou. ‘I’m happy and proud that I will be able to tell my children and grandchildren that I played for clubs like Chelsea and Feyenoord.'</P>
‘We have been negotiating with Chelsea with saying anything over the past period,’ explained Feyenoord director Chris Woerts. ‘We got together with Jan de Visser and Rodger Linse – Salomon’s agents – to work out an agreement for Feyenoord and Salomon that we could all be satisfied with and we managed to do that.’
Salomon Kalou arrived in Rotterdam in 2003 on the recommendation of his brother Bonaventure and not long after making his debut he was loaned out to Excelsior. After returning to De Kuip in the summer of 2004 the youngster quickly developed into one of Europe’s most promising strikers. In his first full season for Feyenoord Kalou grabbed 20 goals. Last season the player added another 15, but he also found himself on the front pages, especially with respect to his bid to gain fast-track Dutch citizenship ahead of the World Cup, after a promise by national coach Van Basten that Kalou would be a member of his Germany 2006 squad if he secured a Dutch passport in time. But Kalou was knocked back three times, despite winning two appeals and the player’s confidence suffered.
‘At the end of the day this is probably the best solution for everyone,’ said Woerts. ‘Salomon’s contract continued for one more season, but he said that he preferred to make a fresh start elsewhere, due to the commotion surrounding him. We understand that entirely. We are very grateful to Salomon for his commitment, his goals and the entertainment he has offered all football lovers during his years in Rotterdam. We will say farewell to him around the Feyenoord-Chelsea game, because he deserves it.’
‘Of course I am very happy,' said a proud Salomon Kalou. 'Chelsea is on the way to becoming a monument and I want to be part of that. I want to be able to tell my children and my grandchildren that I played there when they won the Champions League. I have spoken with José Mourinho, in French, and he convinced me. I obviously also asked Ruud Gullit about the club and I told him that I’m proud to follow in his footsteps. He is the one that gave me the chance at Feyenoord after all. I’m not afraid of the competition at Chelsea. I will give my all in London to be successful, I believe in my ability. You always have to try to get the best out of yourself. I will become a better player there.’
‘I will only have good memories of Feyenoord later,’ said Kalou, who has already passed a medical in London. ‘Those four years in Rotterdam have taught and given me a great deal. It is now time for the next step. I’m happy about my work with Feyenoord and I am grateful to the club, coach Koeman and my teammates. The events of last season were not my reason for leaving, it was simply time. I’m not frustrated about anything and like I said, at the end of the day I only have good memories of Feyenoord and Rotterdam. This was my first club – I never played at the highest level in Ivory Coast – and Feyenoord will therefore always be special for me. I know it hasn’t always been easy for the fans, but they have always continued to support me and I would like to thank them warmly for that. They make Feyenoord special and the best club in Holland.’