To round up the 2012-13 youth football season at Chelsea, we’re reviewing every single one of the Chelsea youngsters currently on the books who have spent time out on loan during the campaign. Here, we focus on Gael Kakuta.
Club: Vitesse Arnhem (Netherlands)
Appearances: 22 (1 goal)
Last season was another step closer to Gael Kakuta fulfilling at least some of his potential, but at the same time it was a step closer to his perm anent departure. Playing a key role for a Vitesse Arnhem side chasing a Champions League place convinced the young Frenchman that he is very much capable of playing for a top team, and with the road blocked at Stamford Bridge, he has indicated two or three times in public that he wants to play regular football.
It’s a shame really because he’s got the tools to be quite an influential player in a deeper Chelsea squad, and could conceivably offer something as a rotational/situational player behind the expensive triumvirate of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar. He played in a front three for Vitesse all season, typically alongside the dangerous Wilfried Bony and the very raw Renato Ibarra.
His trademark dribbling, flair and fierce left foot shot were all on display as he combined offensive firepower with an improved defensive mindset. He’s more complete after spells at Dijon last year and now in Holland and thus a better proposition to come back to London and play, but there’s only so many times you can push a youngster to the periphery before he gets fed up and wants to move on.
The identity of the next Chelsea manager will go a long way to determining what happens to Kakuta. Whoever it is will have to really convince him that he intends to use him if that is indeed the plan, otherwise the French Under-21 international will have his pick of second-level clubs in some of Europe’s best leagues, and perhaps even Champions League outfits in France like Marseille.
Chelsea would get a decent fee for him if he was to leave this summer but they could likely end up regretting his departure in the long term. It’s a familiar story.