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Robben Set to Go as Chelsea Bids for Malouda
The Guardian, June 28th, 2007 3:45PM

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Chelsea, quiet by its standards in the transfer market so far, on Wednesday lodged a $24 million bid for Lyon winger Florent Malouda, according to reports in France, casting the future of the injury- plagued Arjen Robben into doubt. Malouda is a former teammate of Chelsea talisman Didier Drogba, who said he would "walk to Lyon" to bring the 27-year-old to Stamford Bridge. The Guardian says the size of Chelsea's bid is likely to deter Arsenal and Liverpool -- which also reported interest in the Frenchman -- from entering into a bidding war. However, Lyon has said Malouda won't be going anywhere for less than $34 million.

It's a hefty price, although one Chelsea could certainly match, especially since Robben is expected to command a similar price. Spanish champion Real Madrid (as ever) has been very vocal about its interest in the 23-year-old Dutchman. "We are in talks with Chelsea and the player and we hope to sign him," President Ramon Calderon said earlier this month. "Bringing Robben was one of my pledges when I was running for president and it still remains the case." Robben's Chelsea career has been greatly curtailed by recurring injuryâ¬"he's made just 51 Premiership starts in three full seasons.

Should Chelsea land Malouda, the France winger would be the EPL giant's fourth summer transfer, following the arrivals of Steve Sidwell from Reading, Claudio Pizarro from Bayern Munich and Tal Ben Haim from Bolton.

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