Gael Kakuta sat down this week with Thomas Siniecki of Sports.fr – read the original interview at this link to discuss the end of the 2011-12 season at Dijon, where he spent four months on loan, and also his future as a Chelsea player.
The interview has been translated into English below. Apologies for any minor inaccuracies, the content is generally as published in French.
Gael, is it not annoying that you’ve had to delay your holidays because of Under-21 duty?
Let’s say that we expected it a little; we were warned that there would be a match during this period. It was prepared for. I’ll be on holiday next week, so it doesn’t matter.
What does it mean to you, playing for the Under-21s?
It is a pride to wear the blue shirt. In addition, there’s a new kit, so it’s good for us to wear it before anyone else. It’s like a reward for our performances for out clubs. To be called up to international level shows that you’ve proved your talent and that you’re part of the group close to the full squad.
Erick Mombaerts still called you up despite your lack of playing time with Dijon in the last three matches of the season. Does this confidence show that you’re a key part of his team?
In four months I have been able to show what I could do with the ball, I made a mark with my club. I didn’t play in the last three games…I do not know if I am a part, but the fact that the coach selected me proves that he has confidence in me.
Will you stay at Dijon?
And in Ligue 1?
Could you be loaned out again?
No. If I leave, it will be permanent.
Can you tell us what happened during the strange end of the season, where we had the feeling that everything has exploded in Dijon?
This was a settling of scores between the coach and sporting director…It’s a bit sad from a club that had been promoted to Ligue 1.
Were you taken hostage by this situation?
No, the coach got fired, everything he did and he should not be turned against him. But hey, it’s true that I suffered a bit.
Did the decision not to play you in the last three games come directly from Patrice Carteron?
Yes, it was his fault. He’s the coach, it is he who decides.
Do you know what happened between him and the general manager Sebastian Perez? Did you pay for being close to the latter?
I didn’t pay attention to any of that. I’ve know Perez for years, it was a childish reaction from the coach.
Do you have a grudge against Carteron on this end of season?
Yeah, well…he’s a person who thinks of himself. With Sankhare and Koro Kone I had scored the most goals in the second half of the season. So it’s a bit inexplicable that I was left out of the team, because my performances were not bad.
On the first of three games you missed, Carteron claimed you were injured…
I do not know what he said, I didn’t pay any attention. It doesn’t interest me…to say I was hurt, it was perhaps to justify whatever. But I was not hurt at all.
Will you be returning to Chelsea next season? Will you play with Hazard?
Playing with Hazard, I don’t know. But I want to return to Chelsea, yes. I hope we will play together. After that, it’s up to me to earn my place.
Is there a chance that you go on loan again? It didn’t go so well at Fulham and then at Bolton…
I will return to the club, and I myself will take the decision based on the situation. At Fulham, I did get playing time. I only started two games, but I was involved every time. It was more complicated at Bolton as the club was already in a bad way when I arrived.
Ligue 1 gave you that this season?
Yes, I started playing regularly. I was able to string together games of 90 minutes, I found my rhythm and level, I think. I was also able to show Chelsea that I had lost nothing and they could always trust me. It was a good experience, I still started 12 games. I gained some things, got some experience.
It’s unclear who will lead the Blues next season. So, do you think Roman Abramovich has looked at your games?
Him directly, I don’t know. But I was watched in every match.
It’s still a real disappointment what happened to Dijon. The team had defensive problems but often offered an enjoyable game, and often made a ‘pschitt’ at the end…
As I said, there were things that should never have happened. Without that, we would have survived. The coach made decisions that should never have been taken, he wanted to show he had the power. But everything went wrong, and finally he got fired.
Returning to the Under-21s, how do you approach the two games coming up? What is the aim?
Win both matches without conceding a goal. We must continue our momentum.
Personally, what do you expect? Is it another opportunity to impress Chelsea, or do those who will decide your future already know where they stand?
As usual, I want to play. And then we’ll see. As for the people of Chelsea, they’re on holiday, I don’t think they’ll watch the matches…They had time to visit me in Dijon for six months. If I play and I perform well in both games, they’ll be aware, for sure. It’s up to me to be decisive if I’m on the pitch.
Have you ever thought about your shirt number?
No (smiles)…As I play, the number doesn’t really bother me. I was 44, I will try to take Anelka’s 39. He was a great example. We exchanged a lot and he taught me a lot. He sat next to me in the changing room.
What other players do you get along well with at Chelsea?
Drogba, Malouda, Kalou, Bosingwa…all those who speak French!
For you, is it less of a blessing that the Blues have won the Champions League? Without this trophy, the club would have been less attractive and you would perhaps have found your place more easily…
No, it means nothing. Football moves fast. If anything, next year will be my year and I’m going big. But maybe it will not be my year…it’s up to me to work hard and show that I’m able to play at Chelsea.
Do you feel more ready, in fact, that in previous seasons?
Yes, because I received game time and I picked up the pace, so it will be easier to join the group. Before, I tended to be worse than the others physically. As I play more regularly, I think I’ll be fine.