Fallen French giants Paris St Germain have sealed a homecoming deal for Chelsea’s 71-cap veteran midfielder.
35-year-old Claude Makélélé is set to be unveiled as a PSG player on Monday after Chelsea agreed to let him leave on a free transfer. PSG announced the deal to bring the Congo-born midfielder to the Parc des Princes on their official website:
Charles Villeneuve, president of Paris St Germain, Paul Le Guen, coach of the first team, and Alain Roche, head scout, will have a press conference today.
On this occasion they will present to the journalists the French international midfielder Claude Makélélé, who will join Paris St Germain’s first team for the 2008/09 season
Chelsea confirmed the move by releasing a statement thanking Makélélé, who arrived from Real Madrid for £16.8m at the start of Abramovich’s reign, for his years of service:
Everyone at Chelsea would like to thank Claude for the service he has given us. Claude has been a key part of our trophy success and we wish him well for the future.
He will always be welcomed back to Stamford Bridge in the future either as a player or friend of the club.
Although 35, Makélélé still played a key part for the Chelsea team last season, with his last game being the Champions League Final. It was his defensive duties that gave Frank Lampard the space to venture forward and attack as much as he did. With Makélélé now gone and players like Ballack, Deco and Joe Cole on the scene, will Lampard move to Inter to prevent himself being stifled by other attack-minded midfielders? This argument has often been brought up in regard to the England team and Steven Gerrard: Lampard does not play as well without someone doing the defensive dirty work.
Chelsea still have Michael Essien and Jon Obi Mikel who can play in more defensive roles, but will they be picked ahead of Ballack or Deco by Scolari? Lampard’s Chelsea future has looked increasingly unstable in recent weeks and with a player who helps him showcase his skills gone, will Lampard remain in England much longer?