Florent Malouda has expressed his desire to stay at Chelsea despite the arrival and preference of Juan Mata in his place on the pitch.
Malouda told the Evening Standard:
“I think when people saw Juan Mata arriving they thought I would leave but I don’t think you will see me in another shirt in Europe.
“There is no secret – I have a very good relationship with the club. I’m 31 now and last season was my best in England. I feel very well and like I am in the right place at the right time.
“There is no logic for me to leave, especially with the ambition and the quality of players coming in. I still want to get another contract until 2014 because of my ambition to play at the World Cup in Brazil with France but it is not something I’m focusing on right now.
“My deal runs out in 2013 and I know if I keep playing like this it won’t be a problem. I know the board appreciate me and the way I play, what I give for the club. When you reach the age of 33 or 34, you have to be good on the pitch and I know if I’m still playing well at that age I will get another year.
“There hasn’t been any talks to discuss it at the end of the season but I have a special relationship with the board and manager, so there is no point anyone speculating about my future.”
This is a good sign in our need to have at least two experienced, reliable players in each position. Yes, some of us often want to throttle Malouda at times, but he has proven to be a fantastic player when on his game, which has been more often than not in recent seasons. It would be worth it to keep players like him and Anelka in the squad for rotation purposes.
But the question of them staying on does also bring up the attempt to integrate the youth - would older players like Flo staying hinder this development? The arrival of players like Romeu, Meireles, maybe Mata and arguably even Ramires last season seem to have pushed Young Josh McEachran even further down the pecking order after most of us were shouting to have him used more often. Now he doesn't even make the bench in what would surely be a stroll-in-the-park-type match against Genk (yes, he played 90 minutes for the reserves two days before but why not leave him out of that match or give him 45 minutes and put him on the bench for the CL? .... but that's worthy of another post on its own).
But still, it's great to see players wanting to stay, even with AVB's rotation methods and many not be guaranteed an automatic place in the starting eleven anymore. It does seem to make the players want to work harder in training and prove themselves to the gaffer.