The future of Charles De Ketelaere could be determined on Wednesday after a report shed light on what is likely to be the winning bid.
The Belgian forward, 21, has been the subject of an intense transfer battle between Leeds United and AC Milan. Both clubs have seen bids of various sizes knocked back by Club Brugge. The presence of multiple bidders has emboldened Brugge to hold out for as much as they can.
Leeds’ last bid worth £31.5m was knocked back. AC haven’t stretched that far as yet, though they hold an advantage in other regards.
Indeed, Milan already have an agreement over personal terms in place and the player is heavily in favour of joining the Serie A champions over Leeds.
That had not stopped the Whites from maintaining an interest. If AC were ultimately unable to stump up the cash, Leeds may have been able to swoop in late.
However, according to Sky Italia, Milan are finally ready to open the chequebook.
They state Milan chiefs Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara are ready to fly over to Belgium and lodge an improved and official bid.
A fee of around £30m will reportedly be offered. That figure is below Leeds’ last bid, though Jesse Marsch’s side are aware money may not be the deciding factor in this case.
Fabrizio Romano added weight to to report, tweeting AC are ‘getting closer’ to landing the in-demand Belgian.
He also reaffirmed the potential recruitment mission to Belgium, scheduled to take place on Wednesday.
Leeds Live add their take to the story, noting Whites chief Victor Orta has all but admitted defeat. They stated he has now ‘turned his attention elsewhere’.
Why were Leeds desperate to sign De Ketelaere?
The forward is one of the finest talents Belgium has produced in recent years and already has eight senior caps to his name.
He has been compared to Kevin de Bruyne back home, though plays in a more advanced role at Brugge.
He is capable of operating on the wing but is most effective in central areas either up top alone or behind the striker. That versatility would’ve killed two birds with one stone at Elland Road.
Indeed, the Whites still do not have top level competition for Patrick Bamford. What’s more, Rodrigo has never delivered the goods since arriving in the No 10 role and American Brenden Aaronson may take time to adapt.
De Ketelaere could therefore have given Marsch a superb option in two positions, though he now looks on course for Milan.