Old man Malouda no longer wanted at Stamford Bridge
Cole contract dispute could also see him enter Di Matteo's bad books
Florent Malouda looks set to be the latest casualty of the Chelsea overhaul following his revelation that he has been forced to train with the kids for the remainder of his Blues career.
The champions of Europe are a 7/2 shot to reclaim the English crown this year as they bid to find the elusive blend of youth and experience in their squad.
AVB radicalised the approach to a ridiculous extent as he attempted to oust key players – not to mention club icons – Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba which, inevitably, proved the catalyst for his downfall.
Roberto Di Matteo, however, while he continues to freshen up the aging west Londoners, seems to be following a more thought out structure, having recruited players from younger generations to step into the boots of the outgoing old men.
They signed six players all aged 23 and under in the summer transfer window, four of which capable of playing in Malouda’s position out wide. First team action, then, looked certain to be limited anyway, before he was made to train with the youth team.
The 2006 World Cup finalist was reportedly touted around Brazilian clubs Santos and Vasco de Gama, as well as former club Lyon, before the French transfer deadline passed in an attempt to kick him out the door.
An unwillingness to take a cut in his textbook Chelsea wages – £80,000 a week, apparently – nipped these moves in the bud, however.
In addition to being excluded from first team training, the 32-year-old has also been left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad as they embark on the road to retaining club football’s top prize, making it undeniably clear that his services are no longer required at Stamford Bridge.
Another man who could be set to follow the Frenchman out of the Chelsea exit door, in slightly more controversial fashion, is Ashley Cole.
The England left-back is said to be irate about his contract offer (surprise, surprise). His view this time is that a one-year contract extension is derisory for a player of his ilk, in spite of the 31 years he’s got under his belt.
He is still England’s best left-back so he may have a point this time, yet, this comes against the backdrop of a younger model in Ryan Bertand signing a new five-year contract at Chelsea. Di Matteo clearly viewing the Team GB full-back as key to his long and short term future plans.
With two unhappy, egocentric individuals on the books, Di Matteo could be forced to contend with similar dissent from within the ranks as what AVB had on his plate last year.
Although the absence of these players will not be as vociferously contested as Lampard and Drogba’s – particularly Malouda – on the terraces when results aren’t going the Blues’ way, yet unhappiness amongst main players in the camp rarely has a happy ending for the manager.
Unless you’re Alex Ferguson, that is.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.