Fabrizio Romano has rubbished Newcastle United links to Charles De Ketelaere as AC Milan ‘trust’ that the starlet will soon find his form.
De Ketelaere, 21, moved to the San Siro in August when the Italian giants paid Club Brugge around €32m for his services. Much was expected of the attacking midfielder after his exploits for Blauw-Zwart. He bagged 18 goals from 49 appearances in all competitions last term as Brugge finished second in the Belgian Pro League.
A number of clubs took note, with Leeds United particularly prominent in the chase for his signature.
The Whites are said to have tabled a £33.9m bid for the Bruges-born ace in June. However, that went unanswered as Milan swooped to snare the forward.
But things have not progressed as expected with the Serie A giants.
He has struggled to hit the heights, with Stefano Pioli handling him only five starts among 12 top-flight outings.
He has yet to find the net for his current employers. And Romano has proffered an explanation as to why De Ketelaere has yet to ignite at his new club.
“I’m aware there’s already some speculation about the future of Charles De Ketelaere, who only joined AC Milan from Club Brugge in the summer,” Romano said in his CaughtOffside column.
“He has admittedly been a bit slow to get going, but this is because Milan, Serie A and that level is not the same as Belgian football.”
De Ketelaere tipped to stay with Milan
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez recognised De Ketelaere’s talent and handed him his debut as a teenager in 2020.
He has earned 10 Belgium caps to date and found the net on one occasion.
There seems no reason why the schemer should not develop at Milan and become the player everyone expects him to be.
However, a recent report from Voetbalkrant poured doubt on his future.
The Magpies have been linked with a move if he does leave the Rossoneri. But Romano is adamant that will not happen as the Italian giants have no intention of letting him go.
“All the links I’m seeing are not true because he will stay at AC Milan and they trust him as top player for the future after investing almost €35m on him,” he added.
That will come as a blow to Newcastle who are building up a head of steam at St James’ Park. The club are serious players in the transfer market after the Saudi-backed takeover.
Newcastle now the place to be
Eddie Howe has recruited wisely after he was charged with the task of bringing the good times back to Tyneside.
The former Bournemouth chief appears to have revitalised the careers of players such as Joelinton and Miguel Almiron.
And there is every chance that a number of big-name stars will arrive at Newcastle in the next few years. Much will depend on the club’s status and they sat fourth in the table heading into Sunday’s fixtures.
The north-east outfit are possibly ahead of where they expected to be at this stage of the journey.
They look an attractive club to join and that will turn the heads of a few players looking for a move.
De Ketelaere might be off the market for now. But if his situation does not improve then Newcastle will doubtless be one of the clubs monitoring the situation closely.
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