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Chelsea scout Marseille's Thauvin

ESPN staff
January 28, 2014 « United, Chelsea face battle to sign Shaw | Chartbeat test »
Florian Thauvin remains one of France's brightest prospects despite a troubled start to his career © Getty Images
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Chelsea are keeping a close eye on Marseille starlet Florian Thauvin, but former Blues defender Franck Leboeuf has criticised the promising youngster for being too individualistic.

Thauvin, 21, was reportedly close to joining Newcastle from Bastia a year ago before finally opting for Lille. Though his move north quickly turned sour and he made a summer switch to Marseille, the Thauvin has lost little of his lustre across the Channel.

Having already picked up Mohamed Salah from Basel in the January transfer window, Chelsea sent French scout Guy Hillion to Monaco's Stade Louis II on Sunday to watch Thauvin in his team's 2-0 defeat. According to Leboeuf, Hillion will not have been impressed.

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"Thauvin didn't exist for an hour," Leboeuf told RMC. "There was one moment where he had the ball and he tried to knock it past the defender and go round the other side, and you wonder where he's going. Wait for your teammates to arrive, keep the ball. Football isn't played with 11 balls."

Thauvin's future may lie at Stamford Bridge, but that of compatriot Gael Kakuta appears to be elsewhere. Once tipped as a future star after outshining the likes of Clement Grenier, Alexandre Lacazette and Antoine Griezmann in France's junior sides, Kakuta, 22, has faded after a series of underwhelming loan moves while his former teammates have taken centre stage.

"It's a huge waste, because I've already said it and I'll repeat it: he was the most talented one of his generation," Hillion told L'Equipe of Kakuta, who recently decided to end his loan deal at Vitesse Arnhem early and is now training with Chelsea's reserve team. "He could be exceptional. But talent is not enough. There comes a time, when you accumulate failures, that there are problems at every club you go to, you have to ask yourself the right questions and question yourself. Because before Arnhem, there was Bolton, Fulham and Dijon."

Chelsea goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon told L'Equipe that Kakuta, under contract in West London until 2015, may need to move to see his career take off.

"He needs someone to guide him, show him the way," Lollichon said. "But he's also a little stubborn. He has an idea of what football is, but he needs to understand it's up to him to adapt to the others, to the team.

"I get the impression, and it's only my opinion, that he really wants to return to France. He needs a club that puts their faith in him, regardless of the club's identity. He needs stability. I don't think he's lost to football, he's just very late in his development."

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