Crystal Palace transfer rumours: Eagles want Ligue 1 star

Lens attacker and Crystal Palace target Gael Kakuta in Ligue 1 action

Crystal Palace are keen on signing Lens attacker Gael Kakuta, as reported by the Daily Mail.

What’s the latest news on Gael Kakuta?

The 29-year-old has caught the interest of a number of Premier League clubs, with Newcastle, Fulham and Watford all keeping tabs on him.

Palace are also in the mix for his signature as the transfer window edges nearer. He could reportedly be available for as little as €10m (£8.6m) this summer.

What is Kakuta’s pedigree?

Kakuta has been in the headlines since he was a teenager. Back in 2007, he joined Chelsea, but the move was shrouded with controversy.

Kakuta was hit with a £670,000 fine for breach of contract, and Chelsea were given a two-window transfer ban, although these punishments were both later overturned upon appeal.

Still, he failed to settle at Chelsea and he was sent out on loan to Fulham followed by Bolton. These moves did not work out particularly well either, and he has since gone to play in France, Holland, Italy, Spain and China before finally returning to France in 2019. 

In 2014, French scout Guy Hillion claimed that Kakuta was “the most gifted player of his generation” but was wasting his talent. Hillion may have had a point, but Kakuta seems to have turned a corner this season at Lens.

What are Kakuta’s stats this season?

He is in the form of his life.

As his career history suggests, Kakuta has struggled to find his feet at a club for any length of time. That seems to have changed at Lens, though.

This season he has registered 11 goals and five assists in France’s top division, meaning he has been directly involved in 16 goals. This trumps Wilfried Zaha, who has 12 goal contributions to his name in the Premier League for Palace.

Kakuta also holds the upper hand over his Palace counterparts when it comes to key passes – he has made 50 – and only Eberechi Eze (61) has completed more dribbles than his tally of 50.

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Who is this former Palace player?

Is Kakuta ready to finally deliver on his potential in the Premier League?

It would be fair to say that Kakuta didn’t do himself justice when he was last in the Premier League. He netted just one goal in his 17 appearances in the top-flight. He may have wondered whether he had blown his opportunity to dazzle in England.

Yet he could be offered a second chance at Palace, and he seems well-prepared to make this one count. The 9-cap international has helped Lens into the top six in France this year, and has been consistently performing at a high level, something which he has been unable to do for most of his career.

He is now starting to show why he was so highly-rated as a youngster. If he does arrive at Selhurst Park, he would have a point to prove to English fans that he can cut it in the Premier League, and his determination to succeed would only benefit the Eagles next season.

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