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Chelsea FC Transfer Rumours: Kevin De Bruyne 'Likely To Join' By End Of Week

Stop me if you've heard this before. Belgian winger Kevin de Bruyne has long been linked to a move to Chelsea from Genk, and according to Belgian football expert John Chapman the deal is likely to get wrapped up before the end of the week:

I'm told De Bruyne likely to join Chelsea end of week & stay at Genk on loan til end season. Then next year, do a "Courtois". #cfc
Jan 25 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

In other words, Chelsea are planning on buying de Bruyne (for around £8M) this window, keeping him in the Jupiler League for the rest of the season, then converting him into one of the top young goalkeeping prospects in the world. Or maybe they're just going to loan him out overseas next year. It could go either way.

In terms of whether this is actually going to happen or not... well, Chelsea were at least as close as this last summer, where the negotiations with Genk went right up to the deadline. We've always known that an eventual deal was likely, and this one makes a good deal of sense, so if you're a big de Bruyne fan it's probably time to get your hopes up.

This obviously isn't a move that will strengthen the first team in the here and now (the fact that Chelsea are apparently planning to loan him out until the close of the 2012/13 season is testament to that) but de Bruyne is, in my opinion, every bit the prospect that Romelu Lukaku is - think of him as a replacement for Florent Malouda - and I'd be thrilled to add him to the crop.

There's still work to be done on the actual squad, however. It's all very well looking to build for the future, but Chelsea desperately need to put some daylight between themselves and 5th place. Missing out on the Champions League next season would be financially (and emotionally) traumatic, and I suspect the club have something up their sleeves to ensure that won't happen.

Edit: Genk have confirmed that they're expecting a deal to be worked out soon.

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