Kaka, or Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite to his friends, has been fairly successful in the world of football. At club and international level he has won the World Cup, Champions League and league and cup honors in Italy. At a personal level he has won over 25 individual honors including the Balloon d’Or, Serie A Footballer of the Year and the FIFA World Cup Top Assister – and how many footballers do you know who have been included in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year list, twice?
Despite respectable stats of 25 appearances, eight goals and six assists in La Liga since his €70 million move to Real Madrid in 2009, Kaka has failed to settle and is tipped to be on the move in January. Unsurprisingly he is being linked with a move to Chelsea and a reunion with former boss Carlo Ancelotti who managed him during his best years at AC Milan.
But do Chelsea need a player who has been named in the FIFPro World XI from 2006 to 2009, or is Kaka a luxury Chelsea can do without?
A valid argument would be that Chelsea are top of the Premier League by five points and have already qualified for the last sixteen of the Champions League with a perfect record, so do they need anybody, let alone Kaka? Let’s not forget that Chelsea have achieved all of the previously mentioned without Frank Lampard who has spent the last 11 weeks out with an injury.
Chelsea are a team full of stars and this season especially everything seems to be working perfectly. Chelsea’s midfield has been functioning well all year and the likes of Florent Malouda, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel have all put in match winning performances when it has been required of them this season. And when Lampard returns from his injury, presumably this coming weekend, the Chelsea team will be even stronger.
When a player comes into the club a fan asks himself two questions: ‘Is he better than what we already have?’, and ‘Where will he fit into the side?’. In regards to Kaka both of these questions have uncertain answers. In many respects there isn’t a player who is better than Kaka, but on recent form would he even get into the Chelsea team? Also keep in mind that he is currently half way through a four month lay-off with a knee problem and has struggled with injury recently. At 28 years old he should be at the peak of his powers, but there is a question as to whether or not his game would suit the Premier League. He is a creative midfielder who needs time on the ball, a style suited to the slower Serie A, but he has struggled to make the transition to La Liga so how long would it take him to adjust to the faster and more physical style of the English game?
If Ancelotti did make a big money move for Kaka, what kind of message would that send to the youngsters slowly breaking into the Chelsea side? Chelsea fans are raving about up and coming players Gael Kakuta and Josh McEachran and their progression would surely decline if another big signing came into the club. McEachran is being touted by the Chelsea faithful as the most exciting young player to come through the ranks in 40 years. At only 17, Oxford born McEachran is a footballer who is more mature than his age suggests and his passing and first touch are first class. His promotion to the first team is important for the future of the English game as well as Chelsea.
So can Chelsea do without Kaka? Certainly. Money of course is of little concern to the Blues so I would see him being a marquee signing more than anything else. I don’t think Kaka would bring to the Chelsea side what his price tag would demand and it would be of far more benefit for Chelsea to develop their young players than risk another Andriy Shevchenko being added to the books.