Chelsea are in talks with Genk over the signing of Kevin de Bruyne, the Belgian club said yesterday. The 20-year-old could be a Blues player by the end of the week. However, if a deal is completed it is anticipated that the midfielder will be loaned back to the Belgian champions for the rest of the season.
"[Genk director] Dirk Degraen is in London and the expectation is that it will be finished this week," a spokesman for the club said.
De Bruyne, who is a left-sided player, joined Genk at 14 and made his full debut three years later. He forced his way into the club's first team two years ago and helped the Belgian side win the domestic title last season. He made his international debut in 2010. He played twice against Chelsea for Genk in this season's Champions League group stage.
De Bruyne is set to become the third Belgian player signed by Andre Villas-Boas, following the arrivals of Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois. The Portuguese, 34, has made just one major signing so far this transfer window – the England centre-half Gary Cahill, from Bolton.
Queen's Park Rangers and Chelsea, meanwhile, have warned their fans to behave at this weekend's FA Cup tie, when the England captain John Terry will come face to face with Anton Ferdinand, the player he is accused of racially abusing in a league match this season. Terry, who denies any wrongdoing, is due to appear in court on 1 February after a police investigation into Ferdinand's claims, and there are fears that Saturday's match could inflame tension between fans of both clubs.
A statement from the QPR chairman Tony Fernandes and his Chelsea counterpart, Bruce Buck, said any discriminatory chanting at the fourth-round tie at Loftus Road would not be tolerated.
"We have discussed the issues surrounding this weekend's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Loftus Road and we are both in total agreement that abuse and discrimination has no place in football or society," the statement said. "Both clubs enjoy fantastic support. However, we would remind fans that while we want to hear their passion, it's a fact that hatred and abuse is not what being a fan of QPR or Chelsea is about.
"The clubs will work together with the police to ensure that anyone using discriminatory or inflammatory language is identified and that the strongest possible action is taken against them."