GdS: Data suggests things are moving in the right direction for De Ketelaere

By Oliver Fisher -

We are all familiar with the story of Charles De Ketelaere and how he has struggled since his move from Club Brugge, however there is some encouraging recent data.

La Gazzetta dello Sport recall that De Ketelaere is yet to score a goal since his €35m move from Club Brugge nor has he registered an assist since the World Cup break, and in the last couple of games he has missed huge chances.

The reaction of the 21-year-old was one of immense frustration after Saturday’s game, when he received a cut-back in the box and just had to bury it from a few yards out, but his shot was straight at Pessina who blocked it.

The good news is that Stefano Pioli should continue to give him consistent game time be they starts or appearances off the bench, because where it’s a 4-2-3-1, 3-4-2-1 or 3-4-1-2 he plays, the presence of the attacking midfielder remains.

Some numbers have improved for De Ketelaere in 2023, for example the average of shots per game has increased (from 0.67 to 1.11), as has the number on target (from 0.11 to 0.56) and the percentage of shots on target has gone from 20 to 75.

More over, his successful pass rate has gone from 76.1 to 83.1% and the average of balls played per game also increased from 44.3 to 62.7, with an increase in shots in the opponent’s area from 5 to 6.2.

In short, something seems to be moving in the right direction and all that remains is to transform that outburst of anger into one of celebration.

Tags AC Milan Charles De Ketelaere


    1. Exactly! It is rather interesting how the choice of words to describe the scenario does nothing but inflame a bias towards/against a particular player. It was an opportunity to score but one that was not as simple as is often described.

  1. Im sick of all these articles of people making excuses for him. He’s been terrible, he doesn’t deserve more playing time. He does have a great PR team tho I guess. If he actually gets better then you can write about how he is getting better. Until then just stop trying find ways to justify his poor play.

    1. Nowhere are they making excuses or justifying his bad play, simply saying that his stats show that he is slightly improving in his play overall and that there is some hope to seeing him get on the scoresheet. As far as playing time goes, he definitely offers more than Diaz has and it’s been half a season. Not the time to give up on a young talent

      1. Would rather see cdk or adli play than Diaz anyway. Hopefully adli gets a decent chance to show what he can do but at keast he won’t get knocked over everything he has the ball longer than a few seconds

      2. How does he offer more than Diaz? In what area? Diaz has scored some big goals for this team ( Champions League). Had some brilliant moments (juventus this season and last). And he is the only player that can dribble out of prssure when teams press us. All the rest of the players just kick the ball away. CDK has done nothing, except for missing a couple sitters.

    2. “K” You’re an idiot, we are sick of extremely stupid idiots that judge everyone after a couple of months. These are kids that moved to a different country, you emptyheaded attempt of a human being.

      1. I’m sorry Jesus, did I hurt your feelings? I’m judging him based on what he has done on the pitch, unlike everyone else here who are projecting their fantasies on him of what he may possibly be or has the potential to be. I’m just telling it like it is. So far he has been bad. Period.

  2. Just my opinion too. Against Totenham, it was a miss but against Monza, it was surely not a miss. It was a great block by Pessina

  3. I’ve posted this a few times now, so am at bit of a broken record on the issue.

    I think CDK’s goal drought is almost a red herring, at least insofar as Milan’s squad is concerned (and the investments made in different parts of the ground).

    CDK could have a handful of goals to his name, much like Brahim has, but it would not address what I see as being at least 80% of his role – that being his play as an attacking midfielder (not his goal scoring in isolation).

    Granted, CDK is a more physical presence than Brahim but the range of his play seems very narrow (for someone who is in the middle tract of the ground and playing in the midfield as much as not). He seems very easy to close down.

    His movements, as in the way he tries to beat opponents, the range of passing options and even his agility, all seem to be to be suited to a wing or playing as a forward (where the game if played almost entirely in front of the player). He doesn’t seem to fit into the system well enough to find a lot of possession.

    In some respects, this issue is hiding in plain sight. CDK made a name for himself playing as a false 9. His characteristics seem to me to be much more suited to playing a more advanced role.

    Sometimes I wonder whether my scepticism is the result of an optical illusion created by left-sided players (who tend to be more one-sided). But then I think about Zaniolo, as a very close comparison based on physical attributes, age and even experience given seasons lost to injury, who seems to me to have the midfield game covered quite comprehensively. He is a very productive, influential midfield player but happens to have seized-up in front of goal like CDK. However, and unlike CDK, if you get Zaniolo in a good place so he scores, he is essentially the complete package. He is scoring >10 goals with more assists and is doing a power of midfield work. CDK could score his goals but we would not have a clearer answer on whether he is the attacking midfielder the team needs. Scoring headers, which would account for at least 4 of his clearest chances, is not relevant to his performance as a midfielder. It is circumstantial opportunism created by the system. I note Messias, who has a pretty good goal scoring record, is a player that very few consider to be a viable long term option (regardless of his ability to score).

    Can a team with limited transfer resources afford to spend 70,000,000 Euros for the output of maybe 1.5 attacking midfielders? The answer is an emphatic ‘no’ and that is before factoring in the desperate need for a right winger and a striker, and the clear need to add someone to compliment Tonali and Bennacer.

    I am not saying CDK should go. Ideally he would get a run of games to see if he can find the level as an attacking midfielder or Pioli could play him upfront similar to how CDK was used at Club Brugge (it may be we already have what we think we need). But if neither is going to happen, and let’s face it, Pioli has a record of being too rigid for CDK to get the playing time he needs, we must cut our losses. Offload CDK for north of 20,000,000 Euros (which should be possible given that Premier League interest has not gone away – if reports are to be believed), move on and find players the system needs.

    1. Thank you for that really interesting and detailed analysis. And it’s the first I have read this so you’re not a broken record.

      However I don’t actually agree with you about his weaknesses at AM (and I think you’re overthinking it). I’ve probably seen him play as little as most Milan fans but in that time I thought he actually does quite well with his back to goal, can turn and start a counter, and has this knack of winning the ball and launching counters like he did in his first game for us.

      I agree we can’t waste 70m or whatever on players when we have other priorities. And that’s the thing we have other priorities so why would we offload him and then have to waste time and money finding a replacement whilst we watch him reach his potential in the Premier League???

      For money?

      This is a false economy. Every time clubs give up on players and try to cut their losses they end up losing even more money. We ended up spending a fortune on Tonali (who is hardly setting the world alive) when we had Cristante and Locatelli for free.

      Would a settled Cutrone still enjoying the support of the club have really been any worse than Origi?

      (His failures since including at Como are a result of the disruption to his career rather than a lack of technical ability from a record breaking youth scorer who took that goal scoring form to the first team before being sold to make a quick buck which then ended up costing us more in the longer term).

      As both a fan of football and the players who play for Milan who are Milan, I am sick of seeing players constantly failing or being written off.

      The sign of a successful side is when most of the players perform at close to their potential, and often better than they played elsewhere.

      When Salah left Roma he went from decent to one of the best players in the world under Klopp. He’d never have produced the same level had he stayed at Roma. Same with the current Napoli team. If Milan and Napoli swapped squads they wouldn’t swap positions in the league. There’s more to it than that.

      The issue with CDK and the rest is none of them are hitting their potential right now. And they did in the last few years under Pioli which is why we maintained title winning form for over 2 years. Pioli has shown the ability to get the most out of most players even if it takes time.

      That is what gives me hope.

      1. I’m with you on the lack of patience shown to academy players. It’s ridiculous to think Locatelli and Cristante aren’t Milan players.

        I also think we’re well past needing to prioritise Italians for the simple reason that you dont really compete with the Premier League for signatures. As a rule Italians stay in Italy. No one could afford Scamacca, for example, and it’s the same with Zaniolo which is why they left. Neither left for money or the glory.

        The big clubs are waiting for these guys to prove themselves by which time they often become too expensive. The small clubs need the fees because that’s their business model.

        In relarion to CDK, there are as many examples of players who have not worked out, likely much more.

        If we get to the end of the season and CDK is still struggling but Zaniolo, for example, finds some scoring touch in Turkey what would you prefer, writing off some of CDK’s transfer fee and taking on the know quantity (still young enough to have a 10 year career) or persisting with for another 12 months? While trying to win a scudetto and running the risk that CDK’S remaining value is blown up?

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