Gaël Kakuta

Chelsea
Born on 21 June 1991 in France, Gael committed himself to the club until 2015 by signing a new contract in December 2010. That came midway through the player's second season of first-team involvement during which he started both Premier League and Champions League fixtures as a wide player in the front three.

Voted the Academy's Scholar of the Year in 2007/08 by staff and peers, Gael enjoyed an eye-catching first year at Chelsea having joined from French club Lens.

He ended that season as youth top scorer, finding the net 12 times in 20+4 games played out wide or behind the forwards. He also opened his reserve team account, adding to some memorable goals that included an FA Youth Cup hat-trick at Port Vale. His final goal total was six in that cup run to the Final.

A highly-skilled left-footed player who loves taking players on, he ended the 2007/08 season by helping France Under 17s to a final as well, this time in the European Championships although the game was lost.

He started 2008/09 with hamstring problems but Gaël was quickly back to form, scoring in the FA Youth Cup win at Manchester United, and then putting on a dazzling display against Walsall in the fourth round, scoring once and having a hand in another two goals.

These were two of just five youth appearances with only two reserve league outings added before serious injury brought an end to his second season at Chelsea, with a double fracture of the ankle suffered in a friendly against the Glenn Hoddle Academy in February 2009.

Having overcome the injury, Gaël began the next season in the reserves' midfield. In September 2009 he was banned from playing competitive football for four months by Fifa, a sanction relating to his move to Chelsea. It was suspended in November and the player made his first-team debut later that month, coming on as a substitute at home to Wolves.

In February 2010, the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared Chelsea of any wrongdoing regarding the transfer of Kakuta and all sanctions were lifted. He made one start and three sub appearances in 2009/10.

In 2010/11, it was hoped that Kakuta would become more involved in first-team affairs following the release of several experienced players, and indeed he made 12 appearances before signing on loan with Fulham in late January, making his debut for our London neighbours in a 1-0 win over Newcastle in early February. In total he made two starts and five sub appearances for Fulham, scoring once.

Gael completed a loan move to Bolton Wanderers on August 31, 2011, but struggled to find a place in a side fighting for Premier League survival. Despite a well-struck goal on his debut in the Carling Cup, he made just six appearances at the Reebok, and did not start a league game.

In January 2012 he went on loan to the end of the season to French top-flight club Dijon who had Florent Malouda's younger brother Lesly in their squad. On a personal note, Kakuta enjoyed a decent second half of the season, scoring four goals in 16 appearances, but collectively it ended with Dijon relegated to the French Second Division.

Kakuta then moved on loan to Vitesse Arnhem for the 2012/13 season, where 21 of his 22 league appearances for the Dutch side were starts as he helped them to Europa League qualification. He scored once.

In July 2013, it was announced Kakuta would spend the whole of the 2013/14 campaign back on loan at Vitesse. In January, however, he was recalled to Stamford Bridge and on transfer deadlines day he went on loan to Serie A side Lazio.  

International
At junior international level, he was part of the France Under 19 side that won the 2010 European Championships, creating the winning goal against Spain. He was named star player of the tournament. The next summer he played at the Under 20 World Cup, and helped his country to the final four.