Former Chelsea winger Gael Kakuta could be in line for a return to English football after an impressive season with Lens, a report has claimed.
Kakuta, 29, has enjoyed the best goalscoring season of his career with 11 goals in 33 Ligue 1 appearances. The midfielder, who is on loan from Ligue 2 side Amiens, has helped fire Lens to sixth in the table with two games to go. Therefore, the possibility of securing European football is still on the cards in the side’s first season back in France’s top division.
The loan move will become permanent in the summer due to Lens’ top-flight survival. A clause in the deal means Kakuta will sign a two-year contract in a €5m move.
According to the Daily Mail, though, the French side would part ways with their top scorer if they received double that fee. Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Watford are all monitoring the situation.
All four clubs have watched Kakuta this season alongside further unnamed English sides.
He previously played for the Cottagers in a six-month loan spell in the 2010/11 season, and scored once in seven appearances.
That was one of six temporary moves away from Stamford Bridge, where he failed to make an impression after moving to west London from Lens’ academy.
He departed for Sevilla in 2015 but after just a matter of months moved to Chinese Super League team Hebei FC, where he linked up with Manuel Pellegrini.
From there he joined Rayo Vallecano before making the switch back to the country where his career started in 2019.
Kakuta’s first move to England was marred by controversy when FIFA ruled he had breached his contract and he was given a fine and a four month ban, whilst Chelsea were handed a two-window transfer embargo.
However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared both parties of any wrongdoing.
Gallagher aiming to break loan curse
Meanwhile, a current young Chelsea midfielder is looking to do what Kakuta couldn’t and break through to the first team.
Conor Gallagher will reportedly reject any advances from Premier League clubs as he is keen to prove his worth at Stamford Bridge.
He came through the Blues youth ranks and penned professional terms in 2018. However, the England Under-21 ace has yet to make a senior appearance for the club.
He has had three loan moves since then at Charlton, Swansea, and this season West Brom. Although the Baggies have been relegated, he has impressed, with a few clubs taking note.