Kakuta with Chelsea in 2010
|Full name||Gaël Kakuta|
|Date of birth||21 June 1991|
|Place of birth||Lille, France|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|2010–2011||→ Fulham (loan)||7||(1)|
|2011–2012||→ Bolton Wanderers (loan)||4||(0)|
|2012||→ Dijon (loan)||14||(4)|
|2012–2014||→ Vitesse (loan)||34||(2)|
|2014||→ Lazio (loan)||1||(0)|
|2014–2015||→ Rayo Vallecano (loan)||34||(5)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 May 2015.
A youth product of Lens, he moved to Chelsea in 2007 in a controversial transfer. Rarely used at Chelsea, he was loaned to six teams in five different countries before leaving for Sevilla on the expiration of his contract in 2015.
Gaël Kakuta first started playing football at the age of seven under the name of George Steven Towerton, after seeing his uncle play for the reserve team of Lille. He began his career with local club US Lille-Moulins. In his first match with the club, they lost 17–1, however, the defeat was not enough to put him off. In 1999, he joined Lens as a youth player, and spent five years there. In 2004, Towerton was selected to attend the Centre de Préformation de Football in nearby Liévin, a training center exclusively for players brought up in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. He spent two years at the center training there during the weekdays and playing with Lens on the weekends. One of his trainers at the facility was former Polish international Joachim Marx.
Ban and fine
On 3 September 2009, it was announced by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber, that Kakuta would be banned for four months and be fined €780,000 due to a breach of contract with his old club Lens in order to sign for Chelsea in the summer of 2007. Chelsea were also banned from signing any players in the next two transfer windows due to their involvement in inducing the player to break his contract at Lens, meaning they would have been unable to buy or sell players until January 2011. Further to this they received a €130,000 fine, payable to RC Lens.
The club stated that they would "mount the strongest appeal possible" and described the behavior of FIFA as "extraordinarily arbitrary decision". Chelsea believed "the sanctions are without precedent to this level and totally disproportionate to the alleged offense and the financial penalty imposed". Chelsea appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who subsequently lifted the sanctions on the club and the player after ruling that Kakuta did not have a valid contract with Lens, and therefore could not have breached it. Chelsea's transfer ban was suspended later in the same year, and was lifted in February 2010.
Kakuta moved to Chelsea in 2007 and became a player for the youth team. He impressed at Chelsea after his first reserve game alongside teammate Michael Ballack. The German international told journalists, "Go see the French lad, he is the star". Kakuta soon began to flourish earning the Academy Scholar of the Year award after his first season with Chelsea. He was also voted Academy Player of the Year after finishing as the top scorer in the youth side finishing his first Chelsea season with 12 goals in 24 appearances. This included a hat trick against Port Vale in the FA Youth Cup.
For the 2008–09 season, Kakuta was given the opportunity to train with the first team, though he was still limited to playing with the club's reserve team. In February 2009, Kakuta saw his progress come to a shuddering halt when he suffered a double ankle fracture in a friendly against the Glenn Hoddle Academy. Kakuta missed six months returning to the team in August for a youth game against local side Queens Park Rangers. On 1 September 2009, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti added Kakuta to his Champions League squad. Kakuta made his much anticipated Premier League debut during a home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 21 November 2009 as a substitute replacing Nicolas Anelka on the hour, impressing largely with his tricks, skills, pace and enthusiasm. On 2 December 2009, he came on as a half-time substitute for Joe Cole during the quarter-final match of the League Cup against Blackburn Rovers losing on penalties when he missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.
On 8 December 2009, he made his Champions League debut against APOEL. He became the youngest Chelsea player to ever represent the club in the Champions League. He played 73 minutes before being substituted for Fabio Borini. The match ended in a 2–2 draw. Carlo Ancelotti was not satisfied with the team's performance but was very positive about the French youth international: "We had no intensity and no concentration, it was a very bad game from us. The only positive of the night was Gaël Kakuta. He played very well, he showed his fantastic talent. He trains very well everyday and will be the future of Chelsea."
On 11 September 2010, he played his second Premier League game for Chelsea in a derby against West Ham United, coming on as a substitute for Nicolas Anelka in the 76th minute. Kakuta also made an appearance in the Champions League match against MSK Zilina on 15 September 2010. On 22 September, Kakuta started a match in the League Cup and coming off at halftime in a match which ended 4–3 to Newcastle. He then provided the assist for a seventh minute John Terry goal in a 2–0 win over Olympique Marseille.
On 21 December 2010, Kakuta signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract with Chelsea, committing himself to the club until 2015. Kakuta expressed his desire to leave because he says he is unwilling to sit on the bench for another year.
Loan to Fulham
On 25 January 2011, Kakuta had a medical at Fulham with a view to joining them on loan until the end of the season. Kakuta passed his medical 26 January 2011 and joined Fulham for the rest of the 2010–11 season. He was assigned the number 24 shirt. On 5 March 2011, Kakuta came on for Mousa Dembélé on 78 minutes in their 3–2 win over Blackburn Rovers. On 9 April 2011 he started the game against Manchester United at Old Trafford, playing the full 90 minutes in attack alongside Bobby Zamora in a 2–0 defeat. He scored his first goal for Fulham against Sunderland on 30 April 2011.
Loan to Bolton Wanderers
On 31 August 2011, Kakuta joined Bolton Wanderers on loan until 1 January 2012. He made his debut in the League Cup third round tie at Aston Villa on 20 September and scored in a 2–0 win, but it was not until 22 October that he made his first league appearance when coming on as a second-half substitute for Martin Petrov in a 2-0 home loss to Sunderland. Kakuta's stay was considered an unsuccessful one, where he only made six appearances in total. He went back to Chelsea on 31 December 2011.
Loan to Dijon
On 11 January 2012, Kakuta joined Dijon on loan until the end 2011-12 season. Kakuta was given the number 12 jersey. Kakuta made his debut for Dijon in the Coupe de France against FC Istres and scored his first goal for Dijon. On 28 January 2012, Kakuta made his league debut for Dijon coming off the bench at the 53 minute mark against Lyon which ended in a 3-1 lost for Dijon. On 11 February 2012, Kakuta made his first league start and scored the first goal against Stade Brest, even though Kakuta gave Dijon the lead, the game ended in a 1-1 draw. On 18 February 2012, Kakuta continued to score for Dijon, scoring the first goal and also assisting in another for a 3-0 win against OGC Nice.
Loan to Vitesse
On transfer deadline day, 31 August 2012 Kakuta joined Dutch club Vitesse on a season-long loan. On 4 July 2013, it was announced that Kakuta again joined them on loan. On 2 January 2014 it was announced that he was recalled from his loan spell, only to be sent out once more, this time on loan to Serie A side Lazio until the end of the season.
Loan to Lazio
On 31 January 2014, Kakuta joined Italian side Lazio on loan for the remainder of the 2013–14 Serie A season. He made his debut on 20 February, replacing Senad Lulić in the 68th minute of an eventual 1–0 home defeat to Ludogorets in the UEFA Europa League. Kakuta's only other appearance for Lazio was in Serie A on 9 March, coming on in place of Miroslav Klose for the last four minutes as the side again lost at home by the same score, this time against Atalanta. In May, Lazio decided not to retain him.
Loan to Rayo Vallecano
On 25 July 2014, Kakuta agreed to join La Liga side Rayo Vallecano on loan for the 2014–15 season. He made his debut in the competition on 25 August, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in a 0–0 home draw against Atlético Madrid.
Kakuta is a French youth international and has represented his country at all levels. He has scored a total of 15 goals in 45 matches from under-16 level up to the under-20 level. With the under-16 team, he scored on his debut in a 1–1 draw against the Republic of Ireland. In the Tournoi de Val-de-Marne, Kakuta netted two goals in the competition against Italy and Portugal. On 15 March 2007, he was one of five players who scored a goal in the team's 5–0 thrashing of Poland in Saint-Aubin-lès-Elbeuf. Kakuta finished the under-16 campaign making 12 appearances and converting five goals.
With the under-17 team, Kakuta was a regular selection of coach Francis Smerecki. He made debut with the team on 4 October 2007 in a 1–1 draw against Switzerland. In qualification for the 2008 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship, Kakuta scored a goal in the team's 6–0 thrashing of Albania in the first qualifying round. In the Elite Round, he was clinical in the team's final group stage match against Russia scoring a double in a much-needed 3–1 victory. The win assured the team a place in the UEFA-sanctioned tournament. In the tournament, he went scoreless, but contributed to the team's finals appearance converting the 3rd penalty for France in their 4–3 penalty shootout victory over Turkey in the semi-finals. In the final, France were defeated 4–0 by Spain. With the under-18 team, Kakuta only made 5 appearances, but scored three goals, which included a brace against the Republic of Ireland in the Tournio de Limoges and the lone goal in the team's 1–0 win over Turkey in a match that was played at the Stade Mayol.
Despite the FIFA investigation into his transfer, on 2 September 2009, Kakuta was selected to the under-19 squad, for the first time, to participate in the 2009 edition of the Sendaï Cup, held in Japan. In the opening match against the hosts, he scored two goals. At the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, which France hosted, Kakuta scored the opening goal in the team's opening group stage match against the Netherlands. France won the match 4–1. Kakuta also scored against Croatia in the semi-finals. The goal drew the match at 1–1 and France went on to win 2–1. In the final, France came from behind against Spain to win the title 2–1 with Kakuta providing the assist for the winner scored by Alexandre Lacazette. On 2 August 2010, Kakuta was awarded the Golden Player award for his performances at the tournament.
Due to France's victory at the UEFA Under-19 championship, the nation qualified for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which merited under-20 team appearances for Kakuta. He made his debut with the team on 7 October 2010 in a friendly match against Portugal, which ended 3–3. Kakuta, subsequently, appeared in three more matches with the team during the 2010–11 campaign and, on 10 June 2011, was named to the 21-man squad to participate in the U-20 World Cup. He made his debut in the competition on 30 July 2011 in the team's 4–1 defeat to the hosts Colombia.
In October 2014, fraudster Medi Abalimba was jailed for four years after masquerading as Kakuta and spending thousands of pounds on stolen credit cards.
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- Chelsea FC
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gaël Kakuta.|
- Gaël Kakuta – FIFA competition record
- Gaël Kakuta – UEFA competition record
- Gaël Kakuta career statistics at Soccerbase
- Gael Kakuta ESPN Soccernet
- Gaël Kakuta at L'Équipe Football (French)