Everton and West Ham United target Charles De Ketelaere showed he’s a player at Manchester City’s level while playing for Club Brugge in last week’s Champions League clash, Belgian legend Gert Verheyen has told Het Nieuwsblad.
With manager Philippe Clement admitting he may be powerless to prevent star man Noa Lang leaving the Jan Breydel Stadium in January, the last thing Brugge fans needed was to see De Ketelaere join his teammate in the gossip columns.
The 20-year-old academy graduate has arguably outshone Lang this season; elegant and efficient in equal measure.
De Ketelaere has five goals and four assists already, with Calciomercato reporting Rafa Benitez’s Everton and David Moyes’ West Ham have joined some of Serie A’s biggest clubs in the race for his signature.
Is Everton and West Ham target De Ketelaere good enough for Manchester City?
“De Ketelaere showed something extra,” Verheyen says, hailing his performance during Club Brugge’s 4-1 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad.
“He has gained appreciation from the English public for the way he carries the ball. I’d go even further. When I see how that City youngster (Cole) Palmer plays, even in the first leg, De Ketelaere can do that too. He can compete at this level.
“He’s not (Jack) Grealish, (Phil) Foden or (Riyad) Mahrez. Of course not. But a Palmer? He would have his place in that (Man City) squad.”
Verheyen is right. De Ketelaere has a long way to go before he can consider himself Grealish’s equal.
But there’s something very familiar about the way he carries the ball, gliding across the turf with an ethereal elegance that brings to mind AC Milan legend Kaka or Manchester City’s £100 million man.