The agent of Charles De Ketelaere has revealed that there were at least five other teams interested in signing his client but his heart was set on joining AC Milan.
It ended up being a saga that lasted for weeks, but Milan got their man as his signing was officially confirmed earlier this week. He arrives for a fee widely reported to be €35m in total (via Calciomercato.com) thus representing a serious investment, but one that shows how much Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara wanted him.
De Ketelaere’s agent Tom De Mul was interviewed by HLN and he was asked to lift the lid on what exactly went on during the soap opera, revealing how many clubs wanted the playmaker.
“West Ham, Newcastle, Arsenal have all followed Charles but they never pushed through. Even Barcelona has followed him for a long time, but I didn’t think that was the right step,” De Mul said.
“Financially, Leeds would have been the best option. For Club Brugge, for Charles, for us. But Charles wanted to wait a little longer. When Charles felt that Milan were 100% serious things started to turn. At one point De Ketelaere said ‘I absolutely want to go to Milan’.”
Aside from Barcelona, it must be noted that none of the other teams could offer Champions League football which could well have been a decisive factor playing in Milan’s favour, in addition to how concrete their interest was and how much they push for De Ketelaere.