Leeds United

Leeds United


Charles De Ketelaere: Brugges send Leeds message of transfer hope as day of talks leaves Milan hopes flagging and deal for Chelsea man is revived

Charles De Ketelaere of Club Brugge reacts during the UEFA Champions League, Group F football match between SS Lazio

Leeds United retain some hope they could yet pinch the signing of Charles De Ketelaere after a day of talks failed to see Milan and Brugges make any headway over his transfer.

The long-running saga has dominated headlines in recent weeks as far as Leeds United are concerned. The Whites saw a firm £33.9m bid  accepted by Brugges some weeks ago. But with the player’s preference being a move to Milan, it is the Italians who have held the edge.

However, Milan have so far failed to match Leeds’ offer, despite multiple efforts to do so. They saw two offers rejected before a Milan delegation, featuring Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massala, flew to Belgium to try and break the deadlock.

But despite Maldini’s optimism, they failed to agree a deal. Furthermore, Leeds hopes’ grew when a self-inflicted weekend deadline from both clubs came and went without a deal being struck.

Milan, though, have refused to give in. As such, talks have taken place on Tuesday as the club prepares what is a ‘last effort’ to land the player.

However, despite the fresh optimism in the air in Lugano, those talks have failed to see an agreement reached.

Milan’s ‘final’ offer is reportedly worth up to £27.9m (€33m), with a percentage of any future sell-on clause.

However, that still sits some way short of Leeds’ offer. As such, as per Italian broadcaster SportItalia, the two clubs are yet to settle on a fee.

Indeed, a report cited by Sempre Milan claims Brugges have insisting their demands of £29.5m (€35m) cannot be lowered.

And while the difference between the two sides is not all that great, it remains to be seen if Milan will go any higher.

Milan ready to make decisive Charles De Ketelaere transfer call

As such, Milan technical director Maldini is now due to make a call this evening to his bosses to see if their bid can be raised.

That call, to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, will then ask owners Elliott Management to release further funds for the deal.

However, with a takeover by Red Bird Capital on course for September, it remains to be seen if any more funds will be released.

Charles De Ketelaere, Club Brugges, in action against Manchester City in Champions League game at Etihad Stadium

Maldini’s final roll of the dice will be to try and convince the American hedge fund to release more cash. However, in the words of Sempre Milan, failure to do so ‘leaves the negotiation with Brugges for De Ketelaere definitively over’.

To cover their bases, Milan have stepped up talks on the side with Hakim Ziyech.

And they are reportedly now in the clear to sign the Moroccan for an initial £8.4m (€10m) fee. That is considerably less than Milan would need to pay for De Ketelaere.

There does, however, remain the small problem of Ziyech’s £96,000 a week salary demands. Milan, though, may feel that is an easier hurdle to overcome than the current negotiations with Brugges for De Ketelaere.

Quite how De Ketelaere will feel about the situation remains to be seen. He is agitating for the move to Milan, and even asked not to play in their opening Jupilier Pro League match against Genk amid his wish to leave.

Leeds remain on standby for signing

With Brugges informing Milan that they will need to get closer to Leeds’ bid before a deal can be agreed, the Whites are now waiting on further developments.

They are ready to strike the instant deal that has been left with Brugges since late June. And as Milan found with Sven Botman and Newcastle, they could end up missing out on a second major target as a result.

Leeds in battle for Charles De Ketelaere

Leeds in battle for Charles De Ketelaere

Leeds are in a battle with AC Milan for Belgian youngster Charles De Ketelaere.

Leeds United‘s funds have been topped up by the recent sale of Raphinha to Barcelona. He will leave a gaping hole in their side. That said, the capture of Luis Sinisterra will go some way to filling that void.

The further addition of Charles De Ketelaere – were it to happen – will raise optimism to a new level.

Indeed, the Belgian – hailed as the ‘next Kevin De Bruyne’ – is regarded as a future €100m player by Enzo Scifo.

Leeds, meanwhile, are ready to make Ben Foster eat his words as the Whites reportedly prepare a move for the veteran keeper.