Leeds United will reportedly launch an opening bid for Charles De Ketelaere this week as they bid to win the race for the in-demand Club Brugges forward.
Jesse Marsch, together with director of football Victor Orta, are busy prepping for the new season. And having sailed so close to the relegation wind last time out, the club now knows the importance of having a bigger pool of players to choose from. Indeed, Leeds’ paper-thin squad almost saw them pay the ultimate price with only a win over Brentford on the final day ensuring survival.
As such, they have already made a rapid start to the window. Brenden Aaronson’s arrival was confirmed within days of safety. And he was soon joined at Elland Road by RB Salzburg teammate Rasmus Kristensen. And their most recent business saw the signing of Marc Roca from Bayern Munich.
There still remains plenty of activity to be pursued by Leeds too. A deal to sell Kalvin Phillips to Manchester City will be confirmed shortly, with Leeds having a two potential replacements in mind.
One of them, Mohamed Camara, is rated particularly highly and looks to be a signing of real quality if Leeds can pull it off.
However, the biggest arrival yet could come up front, with the club actively chasing a deal for De Ketelaere.
The Belgian has drawn comparisons to Kevin De Bruyne for his elegance and skill on the ball. And having scored 14 goals, weighing in with seven assists during the 2021/22 campaign, De Ketelaere finds himself in high demand.
Charles De Ketelaere offer ready from Leeds
Indeed, Leicester have been tracking the 21-year-old all year, while AC Milan are strongly in the picture.
However, it is Leeds who look ready to make the first move. Over the weekend it was reported that an opening offer from Leeds is due this week.
Now, according to Alexandre Braeckman, Leeds will open the bidding with a firm £25.8m (€30m) offer.
However, that might not be offer to convince Brugges to sell, with the RTL journalist revealing the figure he believes they are holding out for.
“Leeds is about to submit a first €30m bid, it could be done in the next days, but I can’t tell exactly when,” Braeckman told MOT Leeds News.
“Bruges is expecting €40m, though. They know they could have a huge amount of money for this player. It could easily be the biggest transfer of the Belgian football (currently €27m for Jonathan David, from Gent to Lille).”
Leeds need to act decisively
Leeds United left themselves desperately short of striking options last season in the lengthy of absence of Patrick Bamford. As such, a move to bring in De Ketelaere would be a huge coup and a very positive move if they can pull it off.
Indeed, competition for the player is tough and understandably so. However, by acting quickly and decisively, Leeds may have put themselves in pole position for his signing.
That said, they will need to convince De Ketelaere to move to England. Reports suggest he will likely to reject Leeds’ advances with Milan his current preferred destination.
Given they are Serie A champions and can offer Champions League football, it’s easy to see why.
But Leeds can offer a more attractive weekly product in the Premier League. Furthermore, De Ketelaere will know how many of his peers have thrived in England.
Furthermore, the promise of first-team football will surely be greater at Elland Road. His is the sort of signing that can thrive in West Yorkshire. And he should look at how Raphinha and Illan Meslier have thrived since moving to Leeds.