Brugge’s Mannaert: “The De Ketelaere talks seemed like a soap opera, he can become a top player in a top team”

Vincent Mannaert talking to the press in Diegem on July 7, 2020. (Photo by HATIM KAGHAT/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Vincent Mannaert has stated the deal was never at risk, and pointed out where Charles needs improvement.

Mannaert, in the summer of Milan, was the villain: at Club Brugge he is in charge of many things – from directing the mercato, through CEO and co-owner.

Mannaert negotiated hard for De Ketelaere with Maldini and Massara, without saying a word. Until now, that he has spoken to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The longest negotiation of 2022. How was it, as seen from Bruges?
“A normal negotiation, but a very long time. To all of us it seemed like a soap opera. I sold [Loïs] Openda in 72 hours, for De Ketelaere the days was never enough.”

Every afraid that everything would blow up? The agents of CDK say that after the meeting in Brugge, almost everything exploded…
“Never. There was a lot of stress but Milan came to Bruges to meet us… and you don’t do it if you’re not really interested.”

Charles De Ketelaere during training at Milanello. (

Question for the Milanisti. How are Maldini and Massara the negotiating table?
“I had known Massara from the days of Roma, Maldini was a discovery. They were professional, in a context of great respect. Probably at the delicate moment they put more pressure on the agents, threatening to blow up the deal.”

Who was calling to keep the deal alive, you or them?
“Those who want to buy always call…”

A verdict, 10 days later?
“We are all happy, also with the money we collected. Now it’s up to Charles.”

Exactly. How do you see him in Milano?
“For me he is a very strong player, he can become a top player in a top team.”

Charles De Ketelaere during training at Milanello. (

What must he do to become one? What is the greatest risk?
“He has to put on a few kilos of muscle, that’s the main challenge. He has an advantage: a great ability to adapt quickly. If the coach explains something to him, he immediately brings it onto the pitch.”

San Siro can put pressure. He will hold up, right?
“Charles knows what to expect and in games with more pressure he’s always done well. At his debut in the Champions League, against PSG, he seemed to have been there for 2 years.”

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