"It was a normal negotiation, but a very long one. To all of us, it seemed like a soap opera. I sold Openda in 72 hours, for De Ketelaere the days were never enough."
De Ketelaere's agents said after the meeting in Bruges, almost everything was 'blown up', were you afraid?
"Never. There was a lot of stress but Milan came to Bruges to meet us, and you don't do that unless you are really interested."
Mannaert on Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara and how are they at the negotiation table:
"I had known Massara from the days of Roma, Maldini was a discovery. They were professional, in a context of great respect. Probably in the delicate moment they put more pressure on the agents, threatening to blow up the deal."
Who was calling to keep the deal alive?
"The ones who are interested always make the call."
"We are all happy, we too with the money collected. Now it's up to Charles."
How do you see Charles De Ketelaere in Milan?
"For me, he is a very strong player, he can become a top player of a top team."
What should he do to become a top player?
"He has to put on a few pounds of muscle, that's the main challenge. He has an advantage: a great ability to adapt quickly. If the coach explains something to him, he immediately brings it onto the pitch."
Mannaert on San Siro's pressure and if Charles De Ketelaere will hold up:
"Charles knows what to expect and in matches with more pressure he has always done well. At his debut in the Champions League, against PSG, he seemed to have been there for two years."