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Leeds ‘increasingly serious’ – de Ketelaere

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Phil Hay has reported that Leeds United are ‘increasing[ly] serious‘ in their pursuit of Belgian starlet Charles de Ketelaere.

The 21-year-old has taken Belgian football by storm, scoring 18 goals and providing 10 assists for Club Brugge last year, winning the league title ahead of Union Saint-Gilloise. He has also played 8 times for the national team, ranked 2nd in the FIFA World Rankings at the time of writing.

De Ketelaere warming up before a UEFA Nations League match against Wales REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

While he can play wide, de Ketelaere is not viewed by Leeds as a replacement for Raphinha, who is close to a move to London. He is also not necessarily seen as a conventional number nine: The Athletic reports that he is seen as a “secondary striker or false nine”.

Leeds are not the only club interested in the services of de Ketelaere, however. AC Milan, the Italian champions, are interested in strengthening with him as part of their front line, while Leicester City have been suggested too, with Calciomercato in Italy reporting that an offer has been made. (Article in Italian) With the player reportedly wanting to play in the Champions League again next season, a move to Italy may be his preferred option, but the Rossoneri have a long list of potential candidates and may look elsewhere, such as for Real Madrid midfielder Marco Asensio.

De Ketelaere stings the palms of Ederson in the UEFA Champions League Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

De Ketelaere was prominent in Club Brugge’s group stage match at the Etihad, forcing a John Stones own goal in an eventual 4-1 loss for the Belgians, the highlights of which can be viewed below.

Despite playing in the Belgian Pro League, the Champions League has ensured the Belgian plenty of experience against top sides, facing RB Leipzig, PSG and Manchester City last season and Lazio and Borussia Dortmund, among others, in the tournament’s group stage.

De Ketelaere would undoubtedly be a fantastic signing for Marsch’s side, offering plenty of quality in different attacking positions. While his price tag could be as high as 40 million euros, this is still far below Raphinha’s £65 million asking price, allowing room for both him and a winger, such as Cody Gakpo, to make their way to Elland Road.

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