With Chelsea’s transfer ban looming, we thought it prudent in the latest instalment of our Look at him now feature to have a gander at one of the individuals involved when the Blues were last punished by FIFA back in 2009.
We all know the story by now. Budding stars are recruited, and then periodically loaned out to countries around the world, the Chelsea way. It’s a loan policy that’s been criticised by a player on the Blues’ books, Lucas Piazon as well as Cardiff boss Neil Warnock.
While we have become accustomed to such victims as Piazon, Lewis Baker, Kenedy and Charly Musonda in recent years, way back in 2007, the name on everybody’s lips was Gael Kakuta.
The Frenchman was an almost guaranteed success, and every personal accolade from golden boot to Ballon d’Or was sure to follow (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration). The club even picked up a transfer ban in the process of recruiting the then 18-year-old, after being found guilty of inducing Kakuka to break his contract with Lens.
Banned by FIFA in 2009 from signing anyone until 2011, it was ultimately lifted in February of 2010 after an appeal to CAS, though clearly was an ugly affair for the club’s public image. Incidentally, the West London giants filed another one late last week, the reason for our look at Kakuta today.
They got banned for him and where did it get them?
Well, in a big pile of steaming flop. That’s where.
The Frenchman made his much-anticipated debut in 2009, and fans already had their finger the button to release the classic line, “been following this lad since RC Lens under-5s, always knew he was going to make it big” into the social media wilderness.
Fortunately, we were all spared this fate.
The Blues struggled to find a spot for him in the first-team and instead, he was shipped out to the likes of Fulham and Bolton Wanderers, as well as Chelsea’s favourite dumping ground Vitesse, before eventually being put out of his misery in 2015.
After a brief spell in China (because why not?) he now plays for recently relegated La Liga side Rayo Vallecano.
Now 27-years-old, it’s hard to argue that he was at all worth it.
Chelsea fans, what are your standout memories of Gael Kakuta? Are you disappointed with how it turned out? Do you feel the club should address the youth policy? Let us know in the comments below…