Ex-Belgium international reveals concerns over De Ketelaere but backs him and Origi to impress


Former Belgium international Alex Czerniatynski backed AC Milan’s two summer players, Charles De Ketelaere and Divock Origi, to succeed.


Origi arrived on a free transfer from Liverpool and De Ketelaere came in a big move (by Milan’s recent standards) from Club Brugge, but nobody really knows what to expect either yet. If you feel confident calling the season early, have a float with a bonus.

Czerniatynski – who has played for Standard Liege, Anderlecht, Mechelen as well as the Belgium national team – spoke exclusively to MilanNews about De Ketelaere and Origi and what they can bring to the team.

Is Charles De Ketelaere worth 35 million euros for you?

“Charles had a good season in Bruges but it’s true that 35 million is a lot. Especially because you can’t compare the Pro League to the Premier League, La Liga or Serie A. De Ketelaere has quality but the price paid is a bit high.

“In Milan, there is more competition than in Brugge and in Italy, all the matches are difficult for a striker. Everyone asks: is he worth the 35 million that Milan spent to buy him? It will take wait until the end of this season to be able to give a definitive answer.

“He is young but he will have to confirm himself in a very complicated championship like that of Italy. I repeat, we will only have the answer in a few months. “

What qualities stand out the most?

“His excellent technique, above average. He has an easy game, is quick with the ball and scores easily. But maybe he is too light and lacks physical power. And that scares me a little because in some games it will be more difficult to win.

“He also needs to improve in the heads. But in all the big clubs you work the body a lot and I’m sure that Charles will increase his muscle mass in Milan, because he will need it. I faced Italian teams in European competitions and I can say that contacts with Italian defenders are quite tough, more so than in Belgium.

Can we consider him as a footballer capable of breaking matches?

“It’s true but now it’s up to him to find the right spaces because in Italy the defenses are stronger than in Belgium. But Charles is very good in the strait. In the Pro League, he always found solutions, even in the face of closed defences.

“In Italy it will be different, we will also have to manage the pressure and the very high cost of the card. It’s the most expensive purchase of the Rossoneri summer and for a young man like him it’s not easy.

“Here in Belgium, the press talks about Brugge for a day or two after the game, and then that’s it. In Italy, the Gazzetta dello Sport devotes 50 pages every day to football alone. Charles will be analyzed from head to toe and every mistake he makes on the pitch will end up in the papers. The pressure to deal with is enormous, let’s see if he has the broad shoulders to deal with it.”

How many goals do you think you can score in Serie A? Is it possible for him to turn 15?

“He’s not a striker who turns half a chance into a goal. He’s not a Gerd Muller or a Van Basten who didn’t need many chances to score. Charles is not your typical penalty box poacher, he moves so sideways and deep.

“But I would be the first to congratulate him if he scores 15 goals. Because in Italy it’s not easy for a striker to score 15 times.

Origi said that De Ketelaere is a mix between Kakà and Kai Havertz, but many forget Thomas Muller…

“Thomas Muller and Kakà have proven to be good players throughout their careers. But for me, De Ketelaere looks more like Ricky than the Bayern Munich player who works like a madman on the pitch for eighty- ten minutes. But it’s still too early to make comparisons, let’s wait another year or two.

“Charles is young and has a long way to go. So it’s normal that Origi compares him to great players, they are teammates. If I can give any advice, it’s better not to compare him to Kaka already, otherwise the pressure will mount even more. Better to keep your feet on the ground.

And is your other compatriot Divock Origi ready to start in Milan?

“I’ve always liked Origi. In the clubs where he played, he showed that he can score every time he enters the field. And having played for a big club like Liverpool, he also has more experience than De Ketelaere. After that, I don’t really know what the competition will be like ahead. But when he gets the chance, he will have to use it to show that he can establish himself as the owner of Milan.

Could he also be decisive as a starter and not just as a substitute as he has already been in the past?

“Yes, but that’s a question that it may still be too early to answer. Let’s wait. But whether it’s Origi or De Ketelaere, when you’re given the opportunity to play for a club like Milan, you have to give it your all because there are ten players on the bench who would love to steal your spot.

“The fans ask the attackers for goals. And from Origi, being a new signing, AC Milan fans expect that in addition to great performances. I have experienced it during my career and I can say that scoring a goal for a striker is important to immediately shake off the pressure. But imagine if after seven, eight weeks, Origi and De Ketelaere still haven’t scored? There will be criticism. »

Will learning Italian be important to get straight into the mechanics?

“Of course it’s important that you learn the language, but I don’t think that will be a problem for Origi.”