Leeds United

Leeds United


Leeds forced into transfer U-turn with De Ketelaere move now one of two; separate deal at ‘advanced’ stage

Charles De Ketelaere pictured during a soccer game between Poland and Belgian national team the Red Devils, Tuesday 14 June 2022 in Warsaw, Poland

Leeds could splash the cash in a department they recently had no plans to address, though a contract extension for Joe Gelhardt could be signed before any further new arrivals, per reports.

Jesse Marsch’s side were dealt a blow when news came of Junior Firpo’s injury in pre-season. The left-back sustained an injury to his hip in the 4-0 win over Blackpool last week. Firpo is expected to miss up to eight weeks of action which could rule him out of Leeds’ first six league fixtures of the new campaign.

According to the Athletic’s Leeds expert, Phil Hay, the Whites had no plans to sign a new left-back prior to that injury.

That may come as a surprise to those who watched Firpo play last season. It’s fair to say the ex-Barcelona full-back endured a torrid time in his maiden Premier League campaign.

Marsch reportedly has faith Firpo will come good at the second time of asking. However, his injury may now force Leeds into performing a U-turn and dip into the market for cover.

Indeed, Stuart Dallas could have deputised at left-back in Firpo’s absence, though is still recovering from knee surgery and won’t return until around the end of the year. In their latest pre-season friendly against Brisbane Roar, winger Jack Harrison was deployed in defence.

In lieu of Marsch’s comments about future transfers last week, Hay reaffirmed Leeds may now sign a new left-back before the season begins.

However, their priority remains to sign a new forward and as such, they are deemed ‘unlikely to go big’ on whoever they plump for.

De Ketelaere update

Regarding their more pressing priority, Hay detailed the latest on their stalling pursuit of Charles De Ketelaere.

The Club Brugge forward is in the crosshairs of both Leeds and AC Milan.

Leeds are prepared to meet the Belgian side’s full £30m valuation, though De Ketelaere reportedly favours the glitz and glamour that would come with joining Milan. What’s more, the Serie A champions can offer Champions League football.

Regardless, Leeds won’t admit defeat until the very end and are also willing to meet the player’s salary demands. Clearly, the biggest issue they face is convincing him Elland Road is the place to be.

An alternative option is Arnaud Kalimuendo who Hay confirmed PSG are open to bids for. However, Leeds won’t cast the net far and wide if their primary targets can’t be signed.

Joe Gelhardt contract extension coming

That’s because they don’t want to make a signing for the sake of it that would hinder the rapid progression of Joe Gelhardt.

Gelhardt played a starring role during the run-in last season and will expect to see his role increase this term.

Leeds are fully aware of the talent they have at their disposal and according to Football Insider, are in ‘advanced’ talks over a contract extension.

A ‘big pay rise’ is on the cards and Hay’s more recent article confirmed discussions are under way.

Gelhardt extension as important as any new arrival

Leeds took advantage of Wigan’s relegation to League One in 2020 when snapping up Gelhardt for just £1m.

In Patrick Bamford’s absences he was often overlooked in favour of Tyler Roberts and Daniel James by both Marcelo Bielsa and Marsch.

Those selection calls were a point of contention with Leeds fans, though when given the chance to shine late last season, Gelhardt did not disappoint.

Leeds have lost arguably their two finest talents this summer in the form of Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha.

Tying Gelhardt down to fresh terms won’t guarantee the youngster doesn’t follow suit in the coming years. Though it would ensure any potential exit is on favourable terms to Leeds.