Selasa, 24 Januari 2012
Chelsea close in on £8M Genk winger Kevin De Bruyne
The Blues have been chasing the highly-rated 21-year-old for some time and failed in a bid to sign him last summer. While fellow Belgian starlets Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois did make the move to Stamford Bridge, with the latter immediately loaned out to Atletico Madrid, De Bruyne remained with the Belgian champions.
Chelsea have continued to monitor his progress though and are now understood to have tabled a new bid with boss Andre Villas-Boas paying a glowing tribute to De Bruyne before the sides’ Champions League clash in October. "De Bruyne has always been an interesting player. He can play in several positions, wide left or in central midfield, and is exceptionally gifted technically," said the Portuguese.
Genk general manager Dirk Degraen reportedly flew to London on Monday in an attempt to tie up a deal, with some suugesting De Bruyne could remain in his homeland for the rest of the season before linking up with his Chelsea team-mates in the summer.
Chelsea's move for De Bruyne comes after their bid to sign another wideman, Shakhtar Donetsk's Willian, was rebuffed by the Ukrainian champions who maintain the Brazilian is "not for sale".
However, one man not convined the De Bruyne is ready for the rigours of Premier League football, is former Genk boss, Franky Vercauteren, who worked closely with the diminutive forward during his two years in charge at the Cristal Arena.
The Belgian coach who led Genk to the title last season instead believes De Bruyne would benefit from a move to a club a “step between” Genk and Chelsea, while suggesting that if a move to West London does indeed bear fruit, he would be best served heading out on loan to further his footballing education.
“I think it is a very big step for him,” Vercauteren told Sport360° last month. “He will have problems with the physical power in England. Of course training alongside very good players always makes you better as is the case with Lukaku, but I’d rather he joined a club a step between.”
De Bruyne scored five goals and contributed 16 assists last season as Genk won the Jupiler League title for the first time since 2002.