Stoke City have emerged as surprising front-runners in the bid to sign want-away Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda.
Malouda has vented his frustration with life at Chelsea under the new manager Andre Villas Boas and is looking to move on this month. Paris St Germain, led by former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, have expressed an interest in the winger but no firm offer has been made yet.
This has led Tony Pulis to reportedly table a cheeky play for the Frenchman, who is seen as the perfect player to fit into Stoke’s 4-4-2 system on the left wing.
Malouda has mainly been restricted to just substitute appearances for Chelsea this season, due to the form of Juan Mata and is keen to get back playing regular football sooner rather than later with his place in the France squad for Euro 2012 coming under threat.
The 31-year-old signed from Lyon for £13.5m in the summer of 2007 and has had very successful spell at the west-London club, winning the Premier League once and the FA Cup twice.
Chelsea have been somewhat unsure on whether to offload a player they regard as a vital squad member for this season, but the fact that the Frenchman only has 18 months of his current contract left may trigger the decision to cash in now.
It is thought that Malouda would prefer a move abroad back to his native France but he is settled in England and the option of moving to an established Premier League side where he would be guaranteed first team football could be eye-catching to him.
Pulis has shown he has the ability to attract big-name players, like Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios, to the club and although Malouda would seem out of his league, Pulis is apparently going to test Chelsea’s resolve anyway with a £7m bid.