Chelsea's starlet Gael Kakuta is ready storm Porto's 'Dragon's Den'

25 November 2009 03:34
From Griffin Park to the Dragon's den, it truly is the stuff of fantasy for Gael Kakuta, the French teenager who could be forgiven if his head was in a whirl when he arrived in Portugal yesterday.

It has been an incredible five days for the 18-year-old - a dazzling Chelsea debut against Wolves in the Barclays Premier League followed by 90 minutes in the reserves on Monday and selection for the first-team squad for tonight's Champions League game in Porto.

He trained in the Estadio do Dragao, perhaps emptier than Brentford's Griffin Park, where Chelsea's reserves had been beaten 2-1 by Birmingham 24 hours earlier, but a good deal grander.

Gael force: Kakuta in action on his debut against Wolves

Do not be surprised to see the attacking midfielder come off the bench to make his European debut if Carlo Ancelotti's team are in control.

At last, Kakuta's undoubted talent, rather than his controversial transfer from Lens, is the subject of discussion. And, at last, Chelsea are looking at young players on the brink of the first team with genuine belief that they might make the grade.

No one will be more relieved than Frank Arnesen, charged with recruiting the best young talent in the world for Chelsea's Academy.

Arnesen's work has been under scrutiny, especially with Kakuta's transfer sparking a FIFA ban, but suddenly gems are emerging.

Good form: Kakuta impressed many on his recent debut in the Premier League

They may not have been born and bred on the King's Road but there is a real buzz about Kakuta, Fabio Borini, a striker from Italy, and Jeffrey Bruma, a centre half from Holland.

Club captain John Terry said: 'It's good to see not only for the management and the players but for the fans as well. I was probably the last one to really come through the ranks.

'Gael's a real exciting talent. He's just back from a bad injury and to see him come on and play as well as he did, with confidence, is really encouraging, not only for him but for the other players in and around the reserve team.

'No one's getting too carried away - Gael still has a lot to prove but he's a great young talent and he's doing really well, along with Borini and Bruma.'

Ancelotti watched the reserves on Monday, when Kakuta was subdued after his sparkling 30-minute Premier League appearance. It was 21-year-old Serbia international Nemanja Matic, a low-key summer signing from Kosice in Slovakia, who caught the eye.

'You see the manager at every reserve team game,' said Terry. 'He is watching the players to see if they're able to step up into the squad. Speaking to the other players in and around the reserves, they're all encouraged by seeing Gael and Fabio come on.

'It's a lot harder to come through now because you can buy players rather than bring them through and it's harder to throw young players in, given how difficult games are in the top flight.

'But they need to believe and kick on and not settle for being a reserve because, if you make it, it can be the time of your life.'

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Source: Daily_Mail