Arsenal missed out on Charles De Ketelaere despite interest in £29m starlet, says agent

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Arsenal failed to make good on their interest in Belgian winger Charles De Ketelaere before missing out on his signature.

The new AC Milan signing’s agent has claimed that the Gunners and West Ham were among the teams who tracked the 21-year-old before he completed a £29million move from Club Brugge.

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“West Ham, Newcastle, Arsenal have all followed Charles but they never pushed through. Even Barcelona followed him for a long time, but I didn’t think that was the right step,” representative Tom De Mul told HLN.

“Financially, Leeds would have been the best option. For Club Brugge, for Charles, for us. But Charles wanted to wait a little longer. When Charles felt that Milan were 100 per cent serious things started to turn.”

De Mul described De Ketelaere’s move in dramatic circumstances as Milan forced a deal over the line earlier this week.

He continued: “At one point De Ketelaere said, ‘I absolutely want to go to Milan.’ Then you are left with a club that has too high expectations because they received a higher offer. I told De Ketelaere, ‘If you want to go to Milan, I’m behind you.’ But I also added, ‘Get ready for some rough weeks’.

“After the meeting in Belgium, the clubs no longer wanted to talk to each other. Then we went to Lugano. Two superpowers confronted each other and it became a real battle. The outside world cannot understand how difficult it has been to resolve the situation.”