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Sunderland preparing cut-price deal for Chelsea misfit

It’s beginning to look likely that Florent Malouda will leave Stamford Bridge in 2012 after Sunderland emerged as the latest club to show an interest in acquiring his signature.

The French international has been linked with a move away from the West London outfit for some time now and despite his efforts to gain a one-year contract extension, he looks likely to either be sold in January or allowed to leave on a free transfer in the summer.

Malouda’s contract is set to run out at the end of June but he would like to stay with the Blues until after the 2012-13 season, something Andre Villas Boas is unlikely to grant him.

Martin O’Neill is currently staging a revolution at the North East club and since his December takeover, the Northern Irishman has taken his new side from a possible relegation struggle to a comfortable mid-table position.

In an effort to preserve their form, the former Aston Villa boss is being associated with moves for several experienced and proven Premier League stars including Fulham’s Bobby Zamora as well as former charges Stiliyan Petrov and James Collins from Villa.

Malouda has fallen down the pecking order at Chelsea and despite making 14 Premier League appearances for the side this campaign, ten of those have been from the bench and the 31 year-old is keen for more first team action.

The player has personally stated that he wants more game time and while he would love to gain that at Stamford Bridge, he is reportedly willing to consider options at other clubs.

Malouda is currently surplus to requirements at Chelsea and rather than lose the attacker for nothing, Roman Abramovich may take a January offer for his investment who is currently valued at around £4m.

Although O’Neill would certainly prefer to buy young, Malouda is a proven Premier League winger capable of being a great playmaking threat at the height of his playing potential, and could very possibly find himself at a new club in February as he seeks to tie down a place in the French national side ahead of Euro 2012.