Gianluigi Longari has dropped an update on the future of reported Leeds United transfer target Charles De Ketelaere.
In a recent post on Twitter, the Sportitalia journalist revealed that, after weeks of negotiations, AC Milan have finally submitted an offer which matches Club Brugge’s €35m (£29.5m) asking price for the 21-year-old, with the Serie A champions’ capture of the centre-forward now appearing imminent.
However, the Italian did go on to state that the Jupiler Pro League club would like to re-discuss the structure of Milan’s latest offer for the Belgian international – reported to be €31m fixed with €4m in bonuses, two of which are easily achievable while the other two are less so – before they sanction the youngster’s sale.
In his tweet, Longari said: “First indications on the proposal of Milan: Club Brugge would like to re-discuss the division of bonuses to reach the quota of €35m. They would like to raise the guaranteed portion for the payment of the Charles De Ketelaere card. Contact still in progress.”
Considering that Victor Orta’s reported bid of €37.5m (£31.8m) for De Ketelaere has been on Brugge’s table for a number of weeks, Longari’s claim that Milan have finally made an offer which matches the Belgian club’s asking price for the centre-forward is sure to have left the Elland Road faithful livid.
Indeed, while it would appear unlikely that Orta has not been pursuing deals for other attacking targets in the time it has taken the Rossoneri to finally submit an offer worthy of consideration for De Ketelaere, the fact that the Belgian’s saga has dragged on for so long – with just nine days remaining before the Whites’ opening Premier League fixture next Saturday – will certainly have inconvenienced their director of football.
It is reported that Leeds are also interested in moves for Paris Saint-Germain forward Arnaud Kalimuendo and Rennes striker Martin Terrier. However, with PSG and Rennes now also much closer to the start of the 2022/23 Ligue 1 campaign, whether either club will now be as open to sanctioning the departure of their respective player as they would have been towards the start of the summer window is up for debate.
Furthermore, considering the incredible amount of potential that De Ketelaere evidently possesses – with the £27m-rated attacker having scored 18 goals and registered 10 assists over 49 appearances in all competitions last season – missing out on the signing of a player who has been dubbed “the heir to Kevin de Bruyne” will undoubtedly come as a gutting blow to Orta, Jesse Marsch and Leeds supporters alike.
As such, Longari’s update is certainly not a positive one for the Whites, with it now looking increasingly likely that Orta will need to turn his focus regarding the signing of a new centre-forward in the transfer market elsewhere, with time starting to run out for the Spaniard.