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Amiens FC Gael Kakuta


Journeyman Kakuta looks to kick start his career.

DR Congo's Gael Kakuta hopes his move to Amiens, his 12th professional club, will kick start his career.

Gael Kakuta, though only 26-years-old, is joining the 12th club of his professional career.

Earlier this week, DR Congo international Gael Kakuta joined French side Amiens.

Despite the midfielder being just 26, it was the 12th professional club of his career.

This was a player, lest we forget, who Chelsea were so keen to sign in 2007 that the Premier League side ultimately earned a transfer ban from Fifa for supposedly inducing Kakuta to break his contract with Lens.

Chelsea received a 16-month transfer ban in September 2009 from Fifa as a result - which was lifted soon after when Chelsea, Lens and Kakuta all accepted that the player's contract with the French side had not been valid.

Amidst the confusion, what was perfectly clear was that Kakuta was a player in demand.

So what has happened to the talent since?

And why is a player previously so valued by France that he represented the country at every youth level now playing for DR Congo?

Many have cited his injury problems and the controversy that blighted his start at Chelsea.

The answers also lie in an interview Kakuta gave to Foot Mercato earlier this year when he explained that he struggled to get his career on track when being loaned out six times by Chelsea.

"It's hard at 17-18 years of age," he said.

"Then, during my loans, I had my share of responsibility.

I did not really work. 

I did not have the mentality I have today."

After a promising start to his Chelsea career - finishing as the youth team's top scorer and voted academy player of 2007-08 - Kakuta's fortunes soon dipped.

First, an ankle injury suffered in February 2009 kept him out for six months.

Later that year, he was banned from playing for four months and given a fine of 780,000 Euros as a result of the Lens contract dispute.

Once the sanctions were lifted in February 2010, the future looked brighter for Kakuta - as he went on to make 16 appearances for the Blues before signing a new four-and-a-half-year deal in December.

But within weeks, he was loaned to Fulham and then, after failing to fire, to Bolton Wanderers before another deal took him to French outfit Dijon in 2012.

If the plan was to win over legions of doubting Thomases, via the French Ligue 1, it failed.

After struggling to settle down in the French top flight, he also failed to establish himself on loan spells in the Netherlands (Vitesse Arnhem), Italy (Lazio) and Spain (Rayo Vallecano) before he was released by Chelsea mid-2015.

His career was at a crossroads but salvation appeared to come calling when signing a lengthy deal with high-profile Sevilla, but his time in Spain was blighted by injuries and loss of form.

Just five appearances later, he was on the move again - to Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune in February 2016.

After ten months, he was back in Spain - on loan again - with Deportivo La Coruna until the end of last season.

Kakuta is now so desperate to salvage what is left of his career at French club Amiens that he broke his contract at Hebei Fortune early - mutually this time - to join the club.

"There is no point looking back for answers but to focus on a promising future ahead," he said upon signing for the newly-promoted side.

"I thank Amiens for the chance to come here and I just want to get in the right frame and give my best to the club."

The big question is can Kakuta, who opted to play for his parents' nation as his club career fell away, use this as a launch-pad to ensure that a once promising career does not fizz out completely




19 Jul 2017
(BBC Sport by Oluwashina Okeleji)

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