Leeds United are monitoring the situation of Charles De Ketelaere, according to Fabrizio Romano , as the club attempts to bolster their attacking options amid speculation over Raphinha’s exit. The Club Brugge star has been catching the eye across Europe and is valued at around £30-35million after an outstanding season in Belgium.
At 21 years old, the forward is relatively new to senior football, but he has already made 120 appearances for Brugge across all competitions, including regular football in last season’s Champions League – he has also represented Belgium at senior level.
Leeds fans will be more than aware of De Ketelaere’s Dutch teammate, Noa Lang, but may be less in the know over his younger teammate. And with the Whites’ interest heating up, Leeds Live has all you need to know.
Who is Charles De Ketelaere?
The youngster joined Belgian side Club Brugge aged seven, where he worked as a ball-boy, before working his way up the age levels and into the senior side in 2019. Since then, the Belgian has increased in prominence season by season and gone on to make 120 appearances.
His debut came in September 2019 in a Belgian cup match and just one month later he started against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. De Ketelaere was called up to the Belgian national team for the first time in November 2020 and made his debut against Switzerland. He has eight caps for his country and scored his first and only goal for the Red Devils in the Nations League against Italy.
Where does Charles De Ketelaere play?
The 21-year-old’s versatility is part of the reason he is so in demand. He played the majority of his games last season as a centre forward, but was also deployed across the entire front line and midfield, both wide and centrally.
At 6ft 3in he looks like a striker, but there is a surprising fleet of foot and agility that lends itself across the attacking line, and the ability to drive with the ball that is best used in midfield.
What has Charles De Ketelaere done so far?
Since joining Brugge’s senior squad in 2019, De Ketelaere has won all three Belgian league titles on offer as well as the Belgian Super Cup in 2021.
Personally, across 120 games the forward has racked up 25 goals and 20 assists – including a breakthrough 2021/2022 campaign which involved 18 goals and 10 assists in 49 matches.
In 2020, he won the ‘Belgian Promising Talent of the Year’ – becoming the fifth sportsperson to win the award after the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Divock Origi.
Why do Leeds want Charles De Ketelaere?
The Belgian forward is one of the most promising talents in Europe currently and, with Raphinha’s departure very much a possibility, Orta will have a list of potential replacements ready.
One of De Ketelaere’s best assets is his versatility. At just 21, the Belgian has plenty of time to specialise in a particular position and that can be done at Elland Road if he were to move. He has operated comfortably across the front-line and could play in any of the front-four of Jesse Marsch’s 4-2-2-2.
The Brugge star would bring goals to West Yorkshire – something that was badly lacking last season – as well as elite-level technical skill on the ball and plenty of creativity. The youngster has been tipped as one of the most promising young Belgian talents of the next generation, with bags of potential and a promising future.
What has been said about Charles De Ketelaere?
The forward broke onto the scene last season and became a hot topic in Belgium, and in an interview with BBC Sport ahead of Brugge’s Champions League tie with Manchester City, Belgian football journalist Frans Buyse compared him to Kevin de Bruyne.
“Charles’ best position is number 10, but experienced star Hans Vanaken plays there, so he had been moved around, used in attack, on the wing and even at left-back.” Buyse explained. “Lately, he started to enjoy life in the penalty area, but his biggest strength is to have a lot of the ball in central midfield.
“De Ketelaere’s style is reminiscent of De Bruyne. He is intelligent, and possesses great vision and a superb passing range. His dribbling is similar to De Bruyne’s too. Eventually, he should take his place for Belgium.”
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Charles De Ketelaere profiled as Leeds United linked with Club Brugge attacker
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