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Scouting Report: Was Chelsea's Gael Kakuta Foolish to Accept Lazio Loan?

Associated Press
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentFebruary 3, 2014

Chelsea announced on Friday that Gael Kakuta will be spending the rest of the season on loan at Lazio, so here is a scouting report on his chances of breaking into the Serie A club's starting XI. 

 

Lazio's Rough Diamonds

Chelsea did not indicate in their press release that Lazio could trigger a clause to make Kakuta's loan permanent.

However, according to GianlucaDiMarzio.comLazio do have an option to buy Kakuta for €3 million (£2.5 million).

If Sky Sport Italia journalist Di Marzio is right, Kakuta continues a trend in Lazio's transfer policy: Signing rough diamonds such as Keita Balde, Felipe Anderson, Brayan Perea and Ogenyi Onazi

Keita is a jet-heeled 18-year-old Spanish wide forward formerly of Barcelona's La Masia academy.

He scored an unbelievable solo goal against Napoli and was involved in both goals during a 2-0 win over Chievo Verona.

Source: LegaSerieA.it

Temperament could be an issue going forward after Football Italia reported that he was involved in a confrontation with Stefan Radu, a senior figure in the Lazio dressing room. 

Studio FN/Associated Press

Anderson, a 20-year-old Brazilian forward, will be afforded more opportunities to impress in a post-Hernanes era. 

With that said, Lazio manager Edy Reja does not believe Anderson is a like-for-like Hernanes replacement.

"Anderson could in theory replace Hernanes, though he's more of a second striker than a midfielder," Reja told Rai Sport (h/t FourFourTwo.com). "In my view [Anderson is] more adept at playing in wide areas."

So far, Anderson has yet to score or create a goal in Serie A. 

ROME, ITALY - JANUARY 14:  Brayan Perea of SS Lazio scores the opening goal during the TIM cup match between SS Lazio and Parma FC at Olimpico Stadium on January 14, 2014 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Perea is a 20-year-old Colombian No. 9 who was described by BBC Sport South American correspondent Tim Vickery as a "rangy, dynamic striker."

Two assists against Trabzonspor in the UEFA Europa League and a brace against Parma in the Coppa Italia are examples of Perea's promise, but he has not scored a Serie A goal since last October. 

Onazi, a 21-year-old Nigerian midfielder, was named in African football expert Ed Dove's 2013 African team of the year on Kickoff.com. "In a year of revelations for Nigerian football, defensive midfielder Ogenyi Onazi may just be the pick of the bunch," he writes.

VERONA, ITALY - DECEMBER 22:  Emil Hallfredsson (R) of Hellas Verona FC competes for the ball with Ogenyi Eddy
Onazi of SS Lazio during the Serie A match between Hellas Verona FC and SS Lazio at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on December 22, 2013 in Verona
Dino Panato/Getty Images

That said, in three seasons at LazioOnazi has yet to start 30 or more league games in one campaign. 

The aforementioned four diamonds in the rough have high upside, but each have flaws. 

In this regard, Kakuta, who has been loaned out by Chelsea on five separate occasions, fits in perfectly at Lazio

 

Will Kakuta Get Regular Starts?

Source: Tuttosport

Reja tends to start his team in a 3-4-2-1, so Kakuta will be aiming to seal one of the two attacking roles behind the centre-forward.

The difficulty rating is high because Kakuta, a left-sided player, will be in direct competition with Keita, Lazio's cash cow.

Should Keita live up to the lofty expectations, his transfer fee could be in the ballpark of the £32 million Lazio received when they sold Christian Vieri to Inter Milan.

Reja is a fan of Keita and the club want the Spanish teenager to succeed. 

"If he [Keita] remains humble, then he can become a great player," Reja told Football Italia

This is going to be a roadblock for Kakuta, who not only needs to impress in training, but needs to hope either an injury or disciplinary problems flare up for Keita to get a run in the starting XI. 

Well, what about the right-sided attacking role in the "2" of the 3-4-2-1?

VERONA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 02:  Antonio Candreva of SS Lazio celebrates after scoring his openig goal during the Serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and SS Lazio at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on February 2, 2014 in Verona, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panat
Dino Panato/Getty Images

Not an option, as Antonio CandrevaLazio's most valuable playerstarts in that role. 

He leads the club in league goals (seven), assists (five), chances created per game (2.1), shots per game (3.2), dribbles per game (2.8) and crosses per game (2.2). 

If you support Chelsea, you wonder what prompted Kakuta, who did not start one Eredivisie game on loan at Vitesse this season, to willingly accept a loan to Lazio in these circumstances.

"I came here to play," Kakuta told Sky Sports in 2011 while on loan at Bolton Wanderers. "No player likes to be sitting on the bench." 

Kakuta will probably be spending most of the season warming the Lazio bench watching Keita become a starsomething Kakuta should have become by now.

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt.

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