Charles de Ketelaere’s stint in Serie A seemed doomed last season, as his struggles at Milan hurt his stock. But his renaissance has been pleasing at Atalanta this season and it is thoroughly promising.
Atalanta had lost Duvan Zapata in the summer and Rasmus Hojlund had joined Manchester United in a big money move. El Bilal Toure had joined La Dea had his injury was a huge blow to Gian Piero Gasperini’s side, where Luis Muriel’s prominence had also reduced.
There was a burden on De Ketelaere to perform, considering that Atalanta needed goals and considering how the previous stint at Milan had tarnished his reputation. Despite the burden, he hasn’t disappointed anyone and if anything, his stock has risen again.
His brilliant long range strike against Genoa speaks volumes for his confidence, as he is the youngest Serie A player to have racked up six goals and six assists this season. And that is a brilliant number for a player who seemed destined to return to Belgium and more than the goals, it is also the versatility that he supplies which has been vital to Gasperini’s side.
His link-up is the most vital trait that comes in handy at a side like Atalanta. When one looks back at the likes of Papu Gomez, Josip Ilicic, Muriel and Zapata, they had one thing in common and that was their ability to link up with those around them. De Ketelaere is full of that. He is receiving over nine progressive passes per 90 minutes, which is the 96 percentile in Europe and he is receiving 5.78 touches inside the penalty area, which seemed unheard of in his spell at the Rossoneri (via FBRef).
His confidence has risen and he is now taking players on in the final third, beating them and creating chances for those around him. He has come up with 4.22 shot creation actions per 90 minutes, which is 96 percentile in Europe. He has come across as a real technician in the final third and a case can be made of the fact that Atalanta’s system has definitely helped in that regard.
These numbers will now likely increase, as he seems well settled. Toure has returned to action after a long injury lay-off and La Dea could get better themselves.
Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN