Club Brugge CEO Vincent Mannaert speaks for the first time in Italy about transfer Charles De Ketelaere: “There was a lot of stress”

“’A tough guy’. ‘Unpredictable’. ‘Calculating’. Vincent Mannaert was the villain of the film in this Milan summer mercato”, describes La Gazzetta the CEO of Club Brugge before hearing him out about the negotiations with technical director Paolo Maldini about Charles De Ketelaere.

“These were normal, but very long negotiations”, Mannaert opens. “It seemed like a soap opera to all of us. I sold Openda in 72 hours, the days were never long enough for De Ketelaere.” Were they ever worried at Club that the deal would fall through? “Never. There was a lot of stress, but Milan came to Bruges to speak with us,” says Mannaert. “You don’t do that if you’re not really interested. We are all satisfied in the end, we are also satisfied with the transfer amount. Now it’s up to Charles.”

How does Mannaert describe his former goldcrest? “He can become a top player in a top team. His biggest challenge is to gain a few more kilos of muscle. It has one big advantage: its enormous ability to adapt quickly. When the coach explains something to him, he picks it up right away. Busy? Charles knows what to expect and in competitions with more pressure he has always done well. On his debut in the Champions League, against PSG, it seemed as if he had already been playing for two years.”


Soon competition start

In order to optimally prepare his team for the competition opener on Saturday (6.30 pm) against Udinese, coach Stefano Pioli decided to train in San Siro. Regular striker Olivier Giroud trained separately after his muscle strain, but is expected in the selection for Saturday’s game.

It remains to be seen whether Giroud is fit enough to start. “The alternative in rush hour is Ante Rebic, because Divock Origi – who has been training with the group for a few days – clearly has too little preparation,” writes La Gazzetta. The Red Devil missed a large part of the preparation due to an injury and will at most be allowed to come in.

CDK boosts condition

“Charles De Ketelaere also trained separately”, goes La Gazzetta further. “But nothing to worry about: there are no problems for the Belgian, he just did some individual work to improve his physical condition. CDK will most likely start from the bench, but is expected in the second half. Milan’s Rossoneri are expecting him and can’t wait to study, see and encourage him.”

The pink sports newspaper also talks about his search for a house in Milan: De Ketelaere, according to La Gazzetta certainly not opt ​​for the modern City Life district – where Romelu Lukaku also lives – despite the fact that his girlfriend posted a photo of it on Instagram this week. About the Italian lessons he takes: Just like Matthijs de Ligt, De Ketelaere would follow an intensive study program with his girlfriend for the first few months. And about the debut matches of great signings in the past: Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty, Andriy Shevchenko, George Weah, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten scored immediately. The Italians are excited. And yes, so do we.

The front page of La Gazzetta Friday: