On 3 September 2009, it was announced by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber,that Kakuta would be banned for four months and be fined €780,000 due to a breach of contract with his old club Lens in order to sign for Chelsea in the summer of 2007. Chelsea were also banned from signing any players in the next two transfer windows due to their involvement in inducing the player to break his contract at Lens, meaning they would have been unable to buy or sell players until January 2011. Further to this they received a €130,000 fine, payable to RC Lens.
Later, Chelsea appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who subsequently lifted the sanctions on the club and the player after ruling that Kakuta did not have a valid contract with Lens, and therefore could not have breached it. Chelsea’s transfer ban was suspended later in the same year, and was lifted in February 2010. Two years and five months later and after a lowly six appearances for Chelsea FC, Gael Kakuta’s position in the team is still not known for the fans. This despite three loan spells to Fulham, Bolton and Dijon, the former two being underwhelming and the latter promising.
Introduction: Gael Kakuta is primarily a winger who can also play as an attacking midfielder. But Kakuta played in midfield when he was named the best player in the European U19 championships in 2010. Kakuta is ideally suited for the right wing role which needs to be filled desperately as he is better off cutting from the right side and finishing/curling with his left foot. Kakuta is a good finisher and his dribbling skills and pace are very good. After all the glimpses we’ve seen of him, he seems an extremely talented player. Kakuta joins our first team to our preseason tour in the USA. I can safely assume that under Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea are going to play in 4-2-3-1 formation with a double pivot. Kakuta can play at all of those 3 positions behind the striker.
Competition for places: Competition for starting spots and squad roles is always high for “The Champions of Europe”. After some attacking midfield and wide players’ additions to the first team and the reserves, Chelsea have a very good depth in those positions. For this season, Kakuta faces competition from the likes Eden Hazard, Marko Marin, Daniel Sturridge (if he’s still played wide), Ulises Davila, Lucas Piazon, Kevin DeBruyne, Ramires (played RW under RDM), Florent Malouda, Yossi Benayoun (i.e. if the latter two do not leave the club) and of course Chelsea’s player of the year for 2011-2012, Juan Mata, who will be at the London Olympics. Clearly, Juan Mata, Marko Marin and Eden Hazard should be above Kakuta in the pecking order. Kakuta’s cause might be helped if Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun leave the club and if Daniel Sturridge and Ramires are played in their natural positions and not out wide on the right wing. This leaves us with Ulises Davila who might not make the cut this season, an exciting Lucas Piazon of whom many things are expected and a certain Kevin DeBruyne who himself will be fighting for his role in the squad this season. Add to this we’re said to be in the hunt for Hulk, Victor Moses who’d both take the RW role if signed, ahead of Kakuta.
What now? Unless and until Kakuta performs extremely well, he might be loaned to another club in England or abroad, or might even be sold (highly unlikely) or will have to be content with a handful of first team appearances this season, which he would not be ready for obviously. Just in case he makes his mark in the preseason tour, expect him to feature every now and then in the squad bar more than one unlikely high profile purchases on the right wing. So, this preseason tour will be make or break for many including Gael Kakuta, who will be desperate to perform and impress Roberto Di Matteo. Let’s hope that he really makes the cut and be a player to remember in a Blue shirt. KTBFFH!
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