Charles De Ketelaere latest: End finally in sight as Milan reach breakthrough and player makes clear opposition to Leeds transfer
The long-running saga surrounding Charles De Ketelaere is finally nearing a conclusion with reports in Italy stating AC Milan may have finally reached an agreement with Club Brugges.
The 21-year-old Belgian star has been the subject of intense speculation for several weeks now in what has been one of the summer’s most long-drawn out transfer sagas. The Whites saw a firm £33.9m offer for the Brugges playmaker accepted at the back end of June.
However, Leeds have always been second favourites in the race. That’s due to the Brugges star’s preference to instead sign for Milan. To that end, he agreed personal terms with the Serie A champions right at the start of July.
But negotiating a deal with the Belgian side has proved far from easy for the Rossoneri. Their initial offer of £17m was quickly dismissed, while subsequent bids have also fallen short.
Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massala then flew out to Belgium, with a third Milan bid still failing to win Brugges’ approval.
And when a self-imposed deadline for the transfer came and went over the weekend, hopes of a move to Leeds grew.
However, Milan have since made what has been described as a ‘final effort ‘ to sign De Ketelaere. And while that still seemingly came up short, it seems a second day of talks in Lugano has finally seen a breakthrough reached.
As per Calciomercato, the latest Milan bid is worth £26.9m (€32m) with a further £2.5m (€3m) in add-ons. The Italians are also reported to have agreed a future percentage sell-on fee to guaranteed Brugges additional monies further down the line.
That matches, in one form or another, the minimum £29.4m (€35m) fee Brugges were seeking.
Charles De Ketelaere vehemently ruled out Leeds move
And while it falls short of Leeds’ package, Brugges felt it was one they were ultimately forced to accept.
As such, the Italian outlet now believes Milan will close out the signing by Thursday, or possibly before the end of Wednesday.
They report that coach Stefano Piolo could even have the Belgian at his disposal as early as Friday.
Maldini has been able to finally get the deal over the line after a desperate plea to the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis. Seeing they were only just short of the asking price, Maldini asked if they could make up that minor shortfall.
Believing a slight increase would do the trick, that has now seemingly had the desired affect.
Brugges were ultimately left with little choice but to come to an agreement with Milan. That’s after De Ketelaere made clear his wish to sign for them and them only.
Leeds’ offer was the more lucrative to the Jupiler Pro League champions. However, in meetings with the player, he made it clear that his only wish was to sign for the Rossoneri.
Now it seems his wish is finally about to come true.
Back to the drawing board for Leeds United
There will certainly be an element of frustration for Leeds United, given they have waited patiently for the saga to conclude.
And their fans will certainly be pointing fingers with accusations of ‘I told you so’ over the De Ketelaere deal.
However, having made their bid almost a month ago, Leeds have not sat idly waiting to learn the outcome.
On the contrary, the Whites have made enquiries other players too. To that end, a deal to sign Arnaud Kalimuendo from PSG is seemingly in the works.
Leeds in battle for Charles De Ketelaere
Leeds are in a battle with AC Milan for Belgian youngster Charles De Ketelaere.
The 20-year-old has impressed after a two years on loan with Lens. Now back at PSG, their coach Christophe Galtier has provided an update on his future.
Another pricier target is Rennes striker Martin Terrier. Speculation on Wednesday claims Everton are also in the running for his signature.
A more ambitious target for Leeds is reportedly Matheus Nunes. A midfielder, Leeds have learned the huge fee they must pay to secure his signing from Sporting Lisbon.