Chelsea sign midfielder Kevin De Bruyne from Genk on five-year deal.
Chelsea have completed the £6.7m signing of Kevin de Bruyne from Genk on a five-and-a-half-year deal, with the winger promptly returning to the Belgian champions on loan for the remainder of the current campaign.
The transfer ends the Londoners’ long-running pursuit of the 20-year-old, who had first been targeted prior to André Villas-Boas’ appointment as manager last summer. His arrival maintains a recent trend of young, Belgian talent moving to Stamford Bridge following the signings of Romelu Lukaku and Thibault Courtois from Anderlecht and Genk respectively in the previous transfer window.
Courtois, a highly rated goalkeeper, is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid and is expected to spend next season gaining further first-team experience at the Spanish club and, potentially, then with a Championship side. De Bruyne, likewise, will be loaned out next season – most likely not in Belgium – to continue his development, with the player accepting that he may have to wait patiently for his chance to impress with Chelsea.
Three years ago I was playing with the young guys in Genk, but now I am making a transfer to Chelsea,” said De Bruyne, who had joined Genk at the age of 14 and rose through the junior ranks at the club. “It’s almost impossible – to come to a team like Chelsea is a dream come true, but now it’s a reality and I have to work hard to achieve the level that’s necessary. It’s a few steps up. Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world and if you see the level they have compared to Genk then it is a real difference, but it’s something I want to achieve and I will work very hard to get there.
“I have signed and now I will go back for six months on loan to play some games and gain more experience. Next season it would be normal to be loaned out, but I will start the preparations here at Cobham, and if it goes really well maybe I will stay, but probably it will be a team a little level less than Chelsea but bigger than Genk. I am patient. It will be very hard to play in the beginning but if you can train with these guys you will get to a better level than in the Belgian league for sure.”.
The winger, whose mother was born in Ealing, featured twice against the Londoners in their Champions League group in the autumn – Genk lost 5-0 at Stamford Bridge before achieving a creditable 1-1 in the return fixture in Belgium – and is a full international having made his debut in 2010.
He could be joined at Chelsea by the 18-year-old Nottingham Forest forward Patrick Bamford, with the board at the City Ground considering an offer worth around £1.5m for the striker. The teenager, who has made two substitute appearances for the first-team, has rejected two new contracts at the Championship club.
The Austrian youth international Philipp Prosenik has left Chelsea for Milan. The 18-year-old, who was signed from Rapid Vienna in 2009, saw his opportunities frustrated during his time in England after a series of injuries but has now signed a permanent contract with the Italian club.