Following the introduction of the new Premier League rules, the pressure is on clubs to give their young stars more playing time this season. Here at Caughtoffside, we will be taking a look at some of the stars to watch out for, next up is Stamford Bridge youngster Gael Kakuta.
Name: Gael Kakuta
Position: Left Winger/Striker
Gael Kakuta may be better known for his controversial signing rather than his football ability, but he has the chance to step up this season, following the departures from the Chelsea midfield. Carlo Ancelotti has made no secret of his desire to introduce younger players into the Chelsea first team, and Kakuta is surely one of them.
Kakuta signed for the club in somewhat controversial circumstances in 2007 from French club Lens, later suffering a hefty fine and a ban for a breach of contract with his old club. He immediately became a key player for the club’s youth team, winning the praises of senior players such as Michael Ballack.
At the start of the 2008–09 season, Kakuta was given the opportunity to train with the club’s first team, though he was still limited to playing for the reserves. In February 2009, Kakuta saw his progress come to a halt when he suffered a double ankle fracture during a friendly match, ending any hopes of making his first team debut that season.
After a long recovery Kakuta made his much anticipated first Premier League appearance during a home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 21 November 2009, as a substitute for Nicolas Anelka, impressing immediately with his tricks, skills, pace and enthusiasm. Kakuta went on to make a string of substitute appearances throughout the season, slowly regaining his fitness and confidence.
Ancellotti looks set to put his trust in Kakuta this season, and will surely be giving him more first team opportunities after the departures of Joe Cole and Michael Ballack.