Leeds United have been dealt perhaps the final blow in their quest to sign Club Brugge star Charles De Ketelaere, with AC Milan believing the Whites are ‘off the scene’.
The Lowdown: De Ketelaere a key target
The 21-year-old has stood out as one of the Whites’ primary summer transfer targets, as Jesse Marsch looks to bring in a potent attacking player and Phil Hay reporting the Whites are ‘serious‘ about the Belgian.
De Ketelaere has been edging closer to Milan though, who were crowned Serie A champions last season. The Rossoneri look like the favourites to sign the youngster, with reports on Thursday claiming Victor Orta is simply waiting in the wings to ‘counterattack‘ if Milan’s move fails.
Now, though, it looks like the Spaniard may have missed his chance.
The Latest: Milan position strengthens
According to Calciomercato [via Sport Witness], Brugge ‘no longer have Leeds as an ally’ in the race to sign De Ketelaere, making it easier for Milan to sign him.
Paolo Maldini has prepared a €30million (£25.5m) offer plus bonuses for the Belgian, which is less than the €40million (£34m) that the Whites are willing to spend, but they still hold the best position as they will include a percentage to Brugge for any future sale.
Maldini has allegedly even told Club Brugge CEO Vincent Mannaer to stop using Leeds to get a better deal from Milan as the Whites are ‘off the scene’.
The Verdict: Potential big blow
Missing out on De Ketelaere would be a clear blow for Leeds, considering the manner in which they have tracked him this summer – he has been picked out as the leading star of Belgium’s next generation of players, which speaks volumes.
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Should that happen, it is imperative that another exciting attacking comes in instead, with Paris Saint-Germain starlet Arnaut Kalimuendo arguably the strongest current option, even though he is admittedly only 20 and possesses little experience at the top level.
With Patrick Bamford injured a lot last season and not guaranteed to return the force of old, and with Raphinha also leaving Leeds, it is an area that simply must see reinforcements made in the coming weeks.
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