Leeds United’s hopes of signing Charles De Ketelaere remain in the balance amid news that Arsenal are also considering a move for the star – though AC Milan’s hopes appear to have been hit amid claims that their interest is fading.
The Club Brugges star finds himself one of European football’s most sought after attackers this summer. His excellent season for the Belgian champions saw him score 14 goals and chip in with seven assists. Described as the heir to Kevin De Bruyne, it’s easy to see why De Ketelaere is a man in demand.
Indeed, the likes of Leicester have long been on his trail. They have watched him on numerous occasions throughout last season ahead of a possible approach. However, they appeared to have been overtaken by Leeds with director of football Victor Orta stepping up his pursuit.
However, the player’s first choice appears to be AC Milan. The Italian champions are also reportedly keen. Leeds, though, remained in the hunt amid doubts over Milan’s transfer intentions and whether their budget would be allocated elsewhere.
However, as per Fabrizio Romano, Milan have now made their first move for the talented 21-year-old. As per the Italian journalist, Milan have contacted Brugges with an opening £17.2m (€20m) bid.
Price too high for Milan
That is likely to fall flat, with Brugges seemingly valuing the player at nearer the £34.4m (€40m) mark.
Whether Milan go that high remains to be seen. And while that could yet let in Leeds, who do have cash to spend, they may need to convince the player to move to the Premier League.
Their interest, though, does appear further complicated by the fact that reports in Italy claim Arsenal and Lyon are also readying moves.
The Gunners have recently signed Gabriel Jesus and are well stocked in the forward department. Therefore, their interest does seem unlikely.
Nonetheless, Calciomercato claims both the Gunners and French outfit Lyon are watching developments with a keen eye.
Interestingly, though, the Italian outlet claims Milan are ready to ‘wave the white flag’ over De Ketelaere. They claim they are unable to improve on their opening bid and feel unable to match Brugges’ asking price.
Leeds hopes far from over for Charles De Ketelaere
As such, the forward may find himself having to pick from his three Premier League suitors. And that will give Leeds the belief they can still pull off the transfer.
De Ketelaere would surely be guaranteed a solid run of games were he to sign for Leeds United.
Furthermore, at 21 years of age, De Ketelaere knows he has years ahead of him in the game. As such, Leeds could sell him the move as a two-season stepping stone. That’s much like Raphinha has done at Elland Road, with the winger now closing on a move to a Champions League giant.
Leeds, as things stand, cannot offer the player that, or even European football. But they can offer him regular game time in the Premier League, which is seen as the world’s most competitive league.
And regular game time would see his stock and value rise, which could only be of benefit to both club and player. Leeds could be tempted to even include an exit clause in the star’s deal to illustrate to him how his career could map out.