After narrowly missing out on the Premier League title and a first appearance in the Champions League final during the 2006-07 campaign, the pressure was on Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to strengthen his squad ahead of the following season as owner Roman Abramovich, not content with the FA Cup and League Cup, continued to demand unparalleled success at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho had already secured deals to bring in Claudio Pizarro, Tal Ben Haim and Steve Sidwell on free transfers, but it would seemingly be only a matter of time before the Portuguese used the funds provided by Abramovich to make a significant move in the transfer market. One player who had caught his eye was Frenchman Florent Malouda, who had broken onto the scene during an impressive couple of years on the left wing at Lyon and had openly discussed his wish to play for the Blues.
Liverpool and Real Madrid were also said to be interested in signing the 27-year-old, who had scored 32 goals and provided 42 assists during his 181 games at the Ligue 1 champions. However, once Chelsea's interest was considered concrete, it seemed only a matter of time before the two would link up, and on this day in 2007, Malouda would officially be confirmed as a Chelsea player on a four-year deal for a fee believed to be in the region of £13m.
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After confirming his switch to West London, Malouda told French newspaper L'Equipe: "They were my number one choice for many reasons. I saw several matches there as a spectator and always enjoyed it very much. There was also the coach, who really wanted to have me, and life in London because I want my family to feel at ease. The most important thing was that I felt that they really wanted me. I also feel the kind of football that they play really suits me."
Malouda would become reacquainted with Didier Drogba and Michael Essien, whom he played alongside at Guingamp and Lyon respectively, and the French international acknowledged that the duo also played a part in his switch to Chelsea. However, just two months after joining the club, Malouda would see his manager head for the exit door after Mourinho and Abramovich agreed that it was in their best interests to part ways by mutual consent.
Before Mourinho's exit, Malouda had impressed during the opening few weeks of the season, netting on his Premier League debut against Birmingham City, but with interim coach Avram Grant preferring Salomon Kalou to the French winger, Malouda would go on to make just 21 appearances in the English top flight, although he did feature 11 times during Chelsea's run to the Champions League final, where he got the nod over Kalou and played 92 minutes of the Blues' losing effort.
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During his second campaign in West London, Malouda would score nine times in 47 appearances, a considerably higher return than his first year, and after helping Chelsea to the FA Cup, he would be handed a new four-year contract by the club to fend off interest from top European sides. His new deal coincided with the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, who, during his two years at the club, would help Malouda produce his best football in a Chelsea shirt. After being deployed in a central role behind the strikers, he would contribute 12 goals and 10 assists in 33 matches as the club won their third Premier League crown during 2009-10.
However, Malouda's finest night in a Chelsea shirt arguably occurred in his last appearance for the club. After coming on as a 73rd-minute substitute in the 2012 Champions League final, he helped his side reach penalties against Bayern Munich before they triumphed in a dramatic shootout. Despite a quiet performance, he will always be a part of the club's finest moment in their history, and while the final 12 months of his Chelsea career were spent languishing in the youth team, he could leave England having won a Premier League title, three FA Cup trophies and a Champions League crown.
After leaving Chelsea, Malouda spent a season in Turkey with Trabzonspor before returning to France to link up with Metz, where he made 31 appearances last season. However, after the club suffered relegation to Ligue 2, Malouda has found himself being linked with a lucrative switch to the Indian Premier League.