Kalou: Lille are an ambitious club

The former Feyenoord man has justified his decision to move to the Ligue 1 outfit, citing their positive outlook, new stadium and a string of former Ivorian representatives

Salomon Kalou has cited the ambition of new club Lille as the key factor behind his free transfer from Chelsea.

The Ivory Coast international, 26, joined Les Dogues on a four-year deal, just a matter of weeks after highly-rated Belgian winger Eden Hazard made the opposite move across the Channel.

"This is an ambitious club," Kalou told Lille's official website.

"And I have been in regular contact with the coach, Rudi Garcia, who managed to convince me to join his team. And since my contract with Chelsea was running out this summer, things panned out easily."

5/1 Lille are 5/1 with William Hill to win Ligue 1 next season

The former Feyenoord man, who spent six years at Chelsea, follows in the footsteps of his elder brother, Bonaventure, who played for a number of French clubs between 2003 and 2007.

And Kalou also revealed that he was encouraged by the success of fellow Ivorians who have represented the club in recent years, a list that includes internationals Kader Keita and Gervinho.

"Lille is a success for Ivorians!"

"I often came to see Gervinho play, and I have also been on the phone with him quite a lot in the past days. This only confirmed my decision to come here."

He also had a word for Lille's brand new stadium, Le Grand Stade Lille Metropole, set to be unveiled this season.

"This stadium and the players brought in show Lille want to become a serious contender on the continental scene," he concluded.