Leeds United still very much remain in the hunt to sign Charles De Ketelaere with their bid left on table and a report appearing to cast doubt on AC Milan’s transfer prospects.
The Whites have made six signings so far this summer, strengthening their squad options on the back of some £95m worth of transfers. And while these have been offset by the sales of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, Jesse Marsch’s side are seemingly not yet done.
Indeed, with the squad now in Australia and having kicked off their tour with a 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar, Marsch admits more signings are on the horizon.
To that end, the Leeds boss revealed on Wednesday that they plan to sign a new left-back to cover for the absence of Junior Firpo.
But the real blockbuster signing of the summer could still be to come for Leeds. To that end, the club are chasing a new forward to provide cover and competition for Patrick Bamford.
And it’s well documented that their No 1 target is Club Brugges forward De Ketelaere.
The Whites have reportedly tabled a £31.5m offer for the Belgian, which would represent a club-record deal for Leeds. That is some distance more than fellow suitors AC Milan have offered for the eight-times capped international.
However, De Ketelaere is reportedly making it clear that he sees a move to Italy as his first choice. The Rossoneri can offer Champions League football, while he has also held positive talks with technical director Paolo Maldini.
Nervous wait for AC Milan
That said, they are still to agree a fee with Brugges.
Their first offer of just north of £21.5m was swiftly rejected. A second bid of £26.2m has also been waved away. And reports claim, with Leeds tabling the higher amount, the Belgians would prefer his sale to the Premier League side.
Now, as per Corriere Della Sera, Milan have seen their hopes take a bit of a blow. They seemingly have no intention of getting into a bidding war with Leeds. To that end, the Yorkshire side can out-muscle them, financially.
And now the paper claims ‘time is running out’ for Milan to match Leeds’ bid and meet Brugges’ asking price.
Furthermore, Corriere Della Sera claims ‘by the end of the week, they want to find out if the deal can be closed’.
The problem for Brugges is that De Ketelaere ‘continues to say no to Leeds’ with Milan his favoured option.
Leeds’ offer though remains on the table. And in the words of Phil Hay, Leeds’ bid will remain until they know a firm yes or no.
‘In terms of what next for Leeds in the transfer market, they’re happy to match Club Brugge and Charles De Ketelaere’s demands but it’s been made clear to them that CdK favours a move to Milan,’ Hay wrote.
Leeds right to wait for Charles De Ketelaere
There is no doubting that the signing of De Ketelaere is one worth waiting for. And the Belgian – tipped to become a €100m star by Enzo Scifo – is someone who can take Leeds to another level.
By all accounts, the player’s focus is entirely on signing for Milan. And there certainly seems a confidence in sections of the Italian media he will sign. That said, they were also reporting the same with Sven Botman prior to his move to Newcastle.
Ultimately, De Ketelaere may get his wish with Milan seemingly not too far away from matching Leeds’ offer.
Leeds in battle for Charles De Ketelaere
Leeds are in a battle with AC Milan for Belgian youngster Charles De Ketelaere.
Furthermore, it seems an improved third and final bid could have the desired effect for them.
Until then though, Leeds United will keep their offer on the table. Not only would a deal for De Ketelaere be a club record for them, it would also represent a Jupiler-Pro League high.