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Chelsea have increased their offer for Lyon winger Florent Malouda, and according to the French club a deal could be struck in the next few hours.

A bid of £12m was rejected last week but the London club have tabled an improved offer which is closer to the £16.8m asking price.

Cheslea chief executive Peter Kenyon seemed confident of securing the deal.

Kenyon told BBC Five Live: “We’ve been in dialogue with Lyon and it would be nice to conclude deal that before going to Los Angeles next week.

“I’m very optimistic Malouda be joining us at some point out in LA.”

A Lyon spokesman said last night: “Chelsea have come back with a strong offer and Jean-Michel Aulas [Lyon’s chairman] could meet a Chelsea official in the next few hours.”

The 27-year-old player’s agent, Philippe Flavier, said: “I’m not sure if it will be accepted. Nothing has changed and we are waiting to see what will happen.”

Malouda is a former club-mate of Didier Drogba at Guingamp and also Michael Essien at Lyon and he has confirmed he would like to join Chelsea.

Arsenal and Liverpool have also been monitoring the situation and the Real Madrid president, Ramon Calderon, stated earlier this week that he intended to buy either Malouda or the Chelsea winger Arjen Robben. If Chelsea were to sign Malouda it would increase the chance of Robben joining Madrid for a similar fee.

The Dutchman has been in negotiations with Chelsea about an extension to his contract but nothing has been agreed and it is thought he is attracted by the prospect of a move.

Malouda has won four French titles with Lyon and was voted the league’s best player last season.

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