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Who is Charles de Ketelaere?

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Belgium has given the footballing world a lot of wonderful talents over the past decade or so. The next big thing in Belgian football following the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne is a 20-year-old talented footballer who has made his name playing in Belgium and in Europe. In this player profile, we will look into who is Charles de Ketelaere and what is his claim to fame.

Introduction:

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De Ketelaere is a young midfielder who plays for Belgian outfit Club Brugge. After joining the club as a ball boy in 2008, De Ketelaere came up through the academy ranks into the first team picture in 2019 when he featured for the senior team for the first time in a Belgian Cup game. The very next month, he made his UEFA Champions League debut against Paris Saint-Germain. Even though the match ended in a 5-0 loss, de Ketelaere’s talent was out there for the world to see.

Charles De Ketelaere got his share of the European spotlight as a precocious 18-year-old, and it was in the following season when he scored a last-minute winner to inspire Club Brugge against Zenit St Petersburg in a Champions League group stage match. His exploits for the Belgian outfit earned him a call up to the Belgian national team for the first time in 2020, and since then, de Ketelaere has made four senior appearances for the Red Devils: scoring once in the time period.

The Eye Test:

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Moving onto his style of play, De Ketelaere is a left-footed attacker who can play on either side of midfield and also as a forward. The young Belgian is a good progressor of the ball and also possesses good vision to create chances from midfield. De Ketalaere is a good creator both from open play and from set-pieces, and his goal-scoring numbers in the Jupiler Pro League show his precocious efficiency in front of goal: the Belgian has already scored nine goals and made six assists in the Belgian top flight this season, averaging 115 minutes per direct goal involvement.

Charles De Ketelaere’s passing ability has drawn comparisons to his compatriot and Belgian superstar Kevin de Bruyne, as he is adept at passing into the final third and has established himself as one of the top young progressors of the ball in European football. When compared to positional peers in the top five European leagues over the past year, de Ketelaere ranks in the 91st percentile for key passes with 1.69 per 90 minutes: while also ranking in the 88th, 95th and 90th percentiles for passes into the final third, passes into the penalty area and progressive passes respectively.

Standing at 1.92 meters (6 feet 3 inches), De Ketelaere is also an aerial threat from set-pieces when he is not the one taking them: but his frame does not mean that he prefers being a target man upfront. His positional versatility across midfield and in the final third makes him the ideal Swiss Army Knife player for both Philippe Clement and Roberto Martínez. One of de Ketelaere’s strongest attributes is his off-the-ball movement and positioning, as despite being only 20 years old, the young Belgian finds space between the lines like a seasoned professional.

His best strengths:

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Charles De Ketelaere shows an understanding of the game beyond his tender years, as he often finds a run behind the opposition defense that other players can not see. De Ketelaere’s ability to link up play makes him an ideal player in the #10 position, even though he has played in midfield, on the flanks, upfront and even at full-back for Club Brugge whenever required. When playing upfront, de Ketelaere prefers to drop deeper and play in between the lines to exploit defenses: as a quiet but effective interpreter of space similar to the likes of Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller.

Quick and agile, de Ketalaere is quite the physical player as well, as defending from the front is something be excels at. He is not one to shy away from pressing when out of possession, and his understanding of the game allows him to win the ball high up the pitch: something he has been known to show a particular knack for. De Ketelaere ranks in the 95th percentile for tackles with an average of 1.38 tackles per 90 minutes, out of which 0.46 tackles per 90 have come in the final third of the pitch. De Ketelaere ranks in the 95th percentile for pressures averaging 20.73 per 90 minutes, while also ranking in the 96th percentile for ball recoveries with 5.84 per game.

Still only 20 years old, de Ketelaere is likely to find a more specialized niche for himself in the years to come. It is likely that the young forward carves a niche for himself as a second striker, someone that can play in behind the number nine: creating as well as finishing his fair share of chances. Charles’ ability as a fox in the box is also something that is not consistent enough at this point in time, but there have been occasional flashes of it in his game: the young Belgian often recognizes where a loose ball is falling in the box, and then strikes it home with expertise.

Heat Map:

De Ketelaere’s heat map from the 2021/22 season so far shows a player who likes to spend time all over the pitch – but prefers to spend the majority of his time in the final third, on both flanks of the pitch. Even though he might usually be recognised as a forward, de Ketelaere drifts in between the lines often as can be seen from his heat map. De Ketelaere quite visibly likes to drift in from the flanks more often than from central areas and often attacks opposition fullbacks in transition.

Weaknesses:

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However, something that still has a lot of room for improvement in his well-rounded game is his inability to play an effective final pass. De Ketelaere struggles to thread an effective ball through when faced with options, but his erratic decision-making, as well as ineffective finishing in front of goal at times, can be attributed to a lack of experience at his tender age. While it can be viewed as a positive trait for many, his extreme versatility has been criticised by others: who have gone on to describe him as a “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Though his immense versatility can result in his Club Brugge coach playing him only as a utility player whenever needed to make up the numbers, his national team’s head coach has disagreed with the aforementioned notion. On the topic of De Ketelaere’s versatility, Martinez was quoted to have been saying in 2020, “Good players can play anywhere. With his left foot, he is able to make the final ball, he can take the ball in any position and he has the physicality to defend and cover the entire field. It is pointless to put him in a cage from one position now. I enjoy Charles as a left back, as number ten, as number nine. Playing in different positions allows a player to grow physically. Young players need that. Philippe Clement is the perfect coach for Charles.”

Intangibles:

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Besides his long list of impressive attributes, young de Ketelaere has also racked up priceless experience in the Champions League: providing him with plenty of exposure against some of the biggest names in European football right now. Even though Club Brugge finished bottom of a tough group boasting of names such as Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig, de Ketelaere held his own more often than not: and even assisted Hans Vanaken in a 2-1 away win at Leipzig. De Ketelaere’s understanding with Vanaken stood out from the others, and helped him draw the attention of some of the big European clubs looking for a similar profile. At 20, de Ketelaere offers more experience at the highest level than many of his much older peers – an intangible that is to be considered when analysing him.

Final thoughts:

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De Ketelaere’s different talents combine to make a well-rounded profile that if utilized to the fullest, can grow into one of the top players in the continent. His prodigious ability coupled with his precocious understanding of the game makes him a world class talent already, but there are areas in his game that he can improve in order to truly cement his potential. After his exploits in the Jupiler Pro League and the Champions League, it would not be a surprise to see top European clubs fighting for de Ketelaere’s signature next year: a move away from Belgium next summer seems likely if not one in the winter. The Belgian Promising Talent of the Year in 2020 is likely to go from strength to strength in his career, and a future move to the Premier League following in the footsteps of Kevin de Bruyne might not be too unlikely. In order to aid his development even further, de Ketelaere can opt for a stepping-stone move first before moving to a top European club: and it would not be an exaggeration to say that whichever club ends up securing his services will sign a young, prodigious talent with sky-high potential.

         












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Sao Paulo President – Marquinhos “didn’t want to stay”

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There’s been a lot of coverage recently regarding the Brazilian media’s enthusiasm for Marquinhos’ transfer from Sao Paulo to Arsenal. Following numerous rumours stating that the Gunners’ proposal had been accepted, journalist Jorge Nicola revealed yesterday quoting a source who said the move is taking place.

Sao Paulo president Julio Casares was interviewed by Sportv on Wednesday evening. He was queried about sales, and Marquinhos’ departure was also highlighted. The official revealed that the winger is leaving the club owing to a contract dispute, but he did not specify where he will go.

“He didn’t want to stay, we tried everything. Even before the game against Racing, where he blew up, he didn’t want to stay. It was a contractual issue, that he had this condition,” Casares told Sportv.

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According to Globo Esporte, Marquinhos will join Arsenal for about €3.5 million. They point out that because of this, Paulo had to ‘accelerate’ his sale. This is because FIFA will not recognize the five-year contract he signed when he was underage. He is due to become a free agent this summer because he could only agree to a three-year contract, so the club decided to accept the Gunners’ offer rather than lose him for nothing.

This will be Arsenal’s second recent acquisition from the Brazilian market with winger Gabriel Martinelli also signed from the South American country. Mikel Arteta is building his side into a team with a blend of experience and youth. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Martin Odegaard have all flourished under the Spaniard and expectations will be very high for Marquinhos who is rated very highly among the club hierarchy.

Marquinhos is said to be in London already and have undergone his medical with a possibility of announcement down the week as Premier League comes to its conclusion.

Although this one looks like a bit different kind of an acquisition; Arsenal are trying to take advantage of a poorly negotiated contract by Sao Paulo here and Marquinhos’ imminent arrival is likely to get him involved at either Hale End or possibly send him out on loan to get much-needed experience in his legs. Edu, alongside Per Mertesacker, have keenly invested in Arsenal’s academy in the last couple of years and it looks like despite Mikel and his plans of acquisitions – the Gunners will continue to boost the pasture Hale End has always been to London Colney.












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Barcelona offer Raphinha 200% of current wages

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According to GOAL, Leeds United star Raphinha has agreed on personal terms with Barcelona ahead of a possible summer move to the Nou Camp. As Goal initially reported on Tuesday, it is known that the Brazilian will have his salary doubled if he joins the Spanish giants on a contract until 2027.

According to OUL Sports, Barcelona has made an opening bid of £55 million for the Brazilian sensation. Raphinha’s current deal expires in the summer of 2024, and the player is willing to leave Elland Road. If Jesse Marsch’s team are to keep the Brazilian’s services, they must fight for Premier League survival. Raphinha’s final game for Leeds is against Brentford on Sunday [22 May] and he will be more determined than anyone to keep the club in the Premier League.

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Raphinha clearly cares for Leeds United, as evidenced by his response to Luke Ayling’s red card and an emotional moment following the Whites’ final home game of the season against Brighton. He certainly has the talent to play Champions League football, but he is of an age where he must develop for the sake of his career. Unfortunately for him, he will not be able to accomplish his ambitions at Elland Road.

A move to the Catalan outfit will provide the winger with the platform he needs to develop into one of Europe’s top wingers. The Spanish giants are playing a waiting game to sign the winger, which is understandable given their current FFP troubles.

Xavi is reportedly keen on signing the Brazilian as the former Blaugrana player looks to rebuild his squad in the summer to challenge arch-rivals Real Madrid for next season’s La Liga trophy.



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Crystal Palace vs Man United: Match Preview

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Crystal Palace are going into the last day of the season with nothing to play for but a higher midtable place, so this match doesn’t really mean much to them apart from it being their last match and wanting to go out with a win to finish their season well for the fans. However, for Manchester United, this could be the difference between a failure and an absolute catastrophe. They are currently in 6th (Europa League spot) and are only 2 points above West Ham, so if they lose and West Ham wins, then they could be dropped into the Conference League, the third tier of European competition.

WHERE AND WHEN?

Venue: Selhurst Park.
Date: Sunday, 22nd May 2022.
Time: 16:00 (BST).

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant referee: Constantine Hatzidakis, Richard West.
Fourth official: Josh Smith
VAR: Peter Banke
Assistant VAR: Natalie Aspinall.

TEAM NEWS

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Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick said this when asked about availability, “We, once again unfortunately, have quite a few players missing and another couple of players with question marks.” The likes of Sancho, Shaw and Rashford are likely people with those question marks, but even if they aren’t all of them can start from the get-go.

In an interview with Football London, Patrick Viera said this about star winger Micheal Olise, “Michael was injured. He had a step back and he’s not going to play again this season.” This means that he’s not going to be playing against United, but that is their only injury, so they’ll be faring better than United, injury-wise anyway.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Ralf Ragnick’s side hasn’t had the best season, so they’ll be looking to end it stably with a Europa League finish. It’s not exactly what the fans would have been dreaming of when they signed the likes of Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho, it’s not the top 4 and it’s definitely not the league title or Champions League title, but the Europa League isn’t the worst situation in the world for United, even though saying that is a controversial opinion. They’ll need to win this match, as it could decide the future of Manchester United.

Crystal Palace may have nothing to play for, but the difference between 14th and 10th could be looked back upon differently by fans in a few years’ time, and money-wise, it would definitely help the club. Viera’s side have built strongly this season, but the question in the summer will be if they can keep their foundations. A home win against Manchester United would be brilliant for the fans after losing at Everton would be a lovely way to finish the season.

KEY PLAYERS

CONOR GALLAGHER

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Gallagher was benched against Everton, and after their collapse against the Toffees, Viera will probably put him back into the heart of the team. Gallagher had a spell of brilliance, but it seems that he isn’t that same undroppable player he once was at Selhurst Park. And with his future in doubt, he’ll want to play well going into the summer window, and also have the option to stay with the Eagles long term.

Conor Gallagher will also be able to exploit the likes of Dalot and Lindelöf by goading them out of position due to them tracking the wingers and that will help him to get the ball through to the likes of Eze and Mateta or to take it on himself by exploiting the spaces in and around them.

DIOGO DALOT

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Dalot has been a solid right-back for Manchester United and has been able to give Wan-Bissaka some serious competition in that position. With reports coming out of incoming manager Eric Ten Hag’s preference for the Portuguese international of his counterpart, it makes sense that Rangnick starts to prepare Dalot for regular first-team football next season.

The 23-year-old did well on his first Premier League start of the season against Arsenal last month, and he’ll hope to have a similar impact against a team with similar attacking principles as the Gunners. With 8 ball recoveries and brilliant holding of possession against the North Londoners, he’s been yet to have the same impact on a game but will hope to this time around.

PREDICTED XI

Crystal Palace predicted XI vs Man United: Butland; Mitchell, Guehi, Andersen, Clyne; Gallagher, Milivojević, Eze; Zaha, Mateta, Ayew.

Man United predicted XI vs Crystal Palace: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf, Varane, Telles; Fred, McTominay, Fernandes; Sancho, Elanga, Ronaldo.

READ MORE

Manchester United and the Paul Pogba conundrum
Profiling Manchester United target Gonçalo Inácio: What could he bring to Old Trafford?
A potential return on the cards for Aaron Wan-Bissaka?












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