Chelsea and French attacking midfielder Gael Kakuta was sent on loan to Seria A side SS Lazio for the remainder of the 2013/14 season. Kakuta has been on loan at Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem but was recalled this month and rumors of a permanent move have swirled since his return. There were some reports that suggested Lazio were interested in bringing Kakuta on a transfer but it appears time had run out and they agreed to a loan. Whether or not there is an option to buy at the end of the season is not known yet.
The club confirms the loan here:
— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) January 31, 2014
Kakuta has always been an interesting case study in whether or not the current loan system Chelsea has been using and abusing will end up being beneficial for the players in the long run. Kakuta was a star in the Chelsea academy and made 16 appearances for the senior squad with one start in the Champions League. His path to Chelsea stardom was becoming clear but in January of 2011 his long journey of loans at different clubs across Europe began. His first loan was to Chelsea’s London neighbors Fulham FC and the expectation was likely that Kakuta would get more Premier League minutes as a Cottager than a Blue. That loan spell was less than ideal and this remained the theme for the Frenchman’s career.
What is strange about the Kakuta is that he, along with the clubs he has been loaned to, has regressed in quality. His first loan was at perennial Premier Leaguers Fulham, then to the now-Championship side Bolton Wanderers, then to French club Dijon, and finally to Vitesse Arnhem. The move to Lazio presents a significant upgrade over both Dijon and Vitesse but it remains to be seen if he will get regular minutes. Would Kakuta have developed more if he stayed at Chelsea even if it was strictly with the U21s? Regardless of what happens with Kakuta it has been sad to see what was once the jewel of Chelsea’s academy become a journeyman player, even if only on loan.
For an interesting read on Gael Kakuta and the Chelsea loan system visit The Plains of Almeria.
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