Soccer

Lille signs forward Salomon Kalou from Chelsea

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LILLE, France (AP)

French club Lille signed Ivory Coast forward Salomon Kalou from European Cup winner Chelsea on a four-year deal.

The 26-year-old Kalou was available on a free transfer after seeing out the final year of his contract with the Premier League club.

Lille announced the deal on its website on Saturday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

''Lille is an ambitious club,'' Kalou said, adding that he joined the club after convincing talks with coach Rudi Garcia. ''Lille plays very good football, which it has shown over the last few seasons.''

Kalou said that his Ivory Coast teammate Gervinho, who left Lille last season to join Arsenal, also spoke highly of the club.

''The infrastructure here shows that Lille has nothing to envy Europe's top clubs,'' Kalou said.

Kalou scored 36 league goals in 156 league games for Chelsea. He was not a regular on the field with the London club, and was used more as a wide player when he did feature.

His versatility has worked in his favor at times, and he started both the FA Cup final against Liverpool and the Champions League final against Bayern Munich to help Chelsea to win both titles. As an Ivory Coast international, Kalou has scored 17 goals in 49 appearances.

Lille is strengthening following the departure of French player of the Year Eden Hazard, who joined Chelsea.

Lille recently signed France midfielder Marvin Martin from Sochaux.

The club won the French league and Cup double two years ago.

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