West Ham can strike gold if they sign Belgium wonderkid Charles De Ketelaere
West Ham are reportedly in the running to sign Belgium wonderkid Charles De Ketelaere after the Club Brugge ace scored against Italy last week.
De Ketelaere, 20, bagged his first international goal in the Nations League defeat to the European champions after receiving a pass from Kevin De Bruyne and nutmegging goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
It was a special goal for a special young player, who’s reportedly a target for West Ham with CalcioMercato claiming that the attacker is being “courted” by the Hammers, Everton, Napoli and AC Milan.
De Ketelaere is unlikely to be a name that many Hammers fans will have heard of but based on the noises coming out of Belgium, he certainly will be in a few years’ time.
And when you look at the stats, you can see why.
He’s scored four goals and supplied three assists in 13 appearances across all competitions for Brugge this season.
One of those assists came when the Brugge-born ace set up one of the goals in his team’s 2-1 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
According to WhoScored, De Ketelaere has averaged 2.6 key passes per league game this season, ranking him sixth in Belgium’s top-flight. He’s also averaged 1.8 dribbles per game, which is the joint-ninth most in the Jupiler League.
On top of that, the reported West Ham target has also averaged 3.3 shots per game, making him one of the most dangerous attacking players in the whole of Belgium.
While De Ketelaere has played mainly as a centre-forward for Club Brugge, his ability to drop deep and link up with fellow attackers means he’s also adept at playing as a central midfielder.
However, according to talkSPORT, he’s more like a false nine and could even be Liverpool’s eventual replacement for Roberto Firmino.
TalkSPORT’s European football expert Andy Brassell has offered some more interesting insight on De Ketelaere.
As quoted on the radio station’s website, he said: “He’s got loads of potential.
“I’m really interested to see what he can do for the rest of the Champions League.”
Brassell added: “I think he’s in a great place at Club Brugge, a club that are competitive, who win trophies, who are more and more competitive in the Champions League, brave enough to play against the best teams in it.
“You look at the draw they got with Paris Saint-Germain. He was excellent in that game, De Ketelaere.
“I think to be there for at least another year would be a real plus for him and really good for his development.”
Where would he fit in at West Ham?
Michail Antonio is our only out-and-out centre-forward and we all know about the injury issues he’s faced in his time in East London.
De Ketelaere is a young, 6ft 4in forward who could step in for Antonio when needed while he could also play in support of the Hammers star.
It sounds as though he’d be perfect for us and signing him in January would be a class move by David Moyes and new recruitment chief Rob Newman.
While he may cost more than £25million, he’s bound to be worth a lot more than that in the future.