The lowdown: Rumbling on
Leeds fans could be forgiven for growing tired of the saga surrounding the Belgium international.
The Whites’ seemingly never-ending pursuit of De Ketelaere has seemingly been going on forever, with Phil Hay first reporting the seriousness of the interest before Milan swooped in to steal the deal.
The 21-year-old reportedly favours a switch to the Serie A outfit and at one point the Italian press even claimed Leeds were out of the picture, but their move is yet to materialise as the parties fail to come to an agreement on a fee.
That impasse in negotiations could well allow Victor Orta to hijack the Italian champions and swoop again for De Ketelaere, something backed up by fresh claims offering the latest updates on the situation…
The latest: ‘Ready to pounce’
Within the report, it’s suggested that the Elland Road hierarchy have shown a ‘willingness to offer £31million’ for the talented forward, whilst AC Milan are currently stuck at £27million.
The report also states that although Orta is ‘waiting in the wings’ for De Ketelaere, but has also been enquiring about alternative targets such as Rennes striker Martin Terrier, Paris Saint-Germain sensation Arnaud Kalimuendo and Blackburn hitman Ben Brereton Diaz.
The verdict: Fingers crossed
It seems as though the drawn-out attempt to bring the talented Belgian to Thorp Arch could still be alive, with Andrea Radrizanni and Orta ready to smash the club’s transfer record with a £31m bid, but whether or not Jesse Marsch should be signing a player who was steadfast in his desire to choose another club is another matter entirely.
However, having allowed Tyler Roberts to leave on loan to QPR and with both Patrick Bamford and Joe Gelhardt suffering injury issues in pre-season, another central attacking addition is imperative for the Whites before the 2022/23 campaign gets underway.
Described as an ‘absolutely brilliant player’ by reputable football talent scout Jacek Kulig amidst a sensational run of form in last season’s UEFA Champions League, it’s no surprise to see the young forward share similar stylistic traits to the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Alexandre Lacazette (Fbref) – De Ketelaere clearly possesses an abundance of talent that would be welcomed into Marsch’s squad.
Holding a market value of £27million and under contract until 2024 (Transfermarkt), paying the mooted £31million for the versatile youngster would represent a smart piece of business and could prove to be somewhat of a bargain outlay in the long term from Radrizanni.
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