LONDON – Kevin De Bruyne became the third Belgian youngster to join Chelsea in the space of six months after completing a move to the English Premier League giant from Racing Genk on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old winger, who has been tracked by Chelsea for some time, signed a 5 1/2-year deal for a reported fee of 9 million pounds ($14.2 million) but will return to Genk on loan for the rest of the season.
De Bruyne’s international teammates, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and striker Romelu Lukaku, have also been signed by Chelsea since the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas as manager last June.
Neither Courtois or Lukaku have managed to break into the first team — Courtois is on loan at Spanish side Atletico Madrid — and De Bruyne looks to be another signing for the future.
“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,” De Bruyne said.
De Bruyne has played against Chelsea twice this season for Genk in their Champions League group, with Villas-Boas’ team winning the home match 5-0 and drawing 1-1 in Belgium.
“It’s a little bit of a dream come true,” De Bruyne said. “I’ve worked very hard and am still very young but have already played a lot of games.
“To come to a team like Chelsea is a dream but now it’s a reality and I have to work hard to achieve the level that’s necessary.”
Chelsea already have left wingers in Spain international Juan Mata and Florent Malouda, although the Frenchman’s days at the London club appear numbered as Villas-Boas increasingly looks to inject youth into the squad.