Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United are reportedly set to battle it out for the signature of Belgian wonderkid Charles De Ketelaere in the forthcoming transfer windows.
According to a report in Fichajes, a host of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, are keeping a close watch on Club Brugge forward Charles De Ketelaere and are contemplating a move after receiving glowing scout reports.
After progressing through the youth ranks at the Club Brugge academy, the 20-year-old prodigy enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season last term, scoring five goals and providing eight assists in 46 appearances made for Blauw-Zwart across all competitions. On the back of his displays, he was also named as Belgian Pro League’s best young player of the year.
His brilliant performances earned him his first senior cap for Belgium in November last year. He extended that hot form into this season, netting 4 goals and 2 assists in 10 outings, notably catching the eye in Club Brugge’s 1-1 draw against PSG in the UEFA Champions League group game.
Charles De Ketelaere is one of Europe’s fastest-growing young talents. The 20-year-old has seemingly attracted loads of admirers following his exploits over the last 12 months. His rising stock and rapid progression has managed to grab the attention of several top Premier League clubs, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United all pushing for his signature.
Liverpool are looking for a long-term successor for Roberto Firmino, and De Ketelaere has similar attributes. He is versatile, selfless and has a creative brain. He is more of a facilitator than an out-and-out striker. A mix of physical and technical qualities, he can also act as a “false nine”.
Similarly, Arsenal are looking for a young striker to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and have been touted with the moves for Inter’s Lautaro Martinez and Real Betis’ Alexander Isak. But it is unlikely the Gunners can lure those names without European football. De Ketelaere could add to their young crop of first-team players and can explode later on.
Manchester United, meanwhile, have been trailing Erling Haaland for a while now. But Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford may have scuppered those plans. Furthermore, any move for the Norwegian would cost United a hefty chunk of money in transfer fees, agent fees and players’ wages. De Ketelaere provides them with a cheaper alternative. Given his age, he can be moulded into a starter in the coming years.
Club Brugge are in no rush to cash him on as the player are contracted until June 2023 at Jan Breydel Stadium and are working on an extension instead. However, the lure of playing for the elite Premier League clubs could prove to be too appealing for De Ketelaere. What now remains to be seen is where the 20-year-old ends up in the coming transfer windows.