Phil Hay has dropped an update on Leeds United‘s reported interest in Charles De Ketelaere.
Speaking on a recent episode of The Phil Hay Show, the titular journalist revealed that, following recent reports linking the Whites with a move for the Club Brugge forward, Victor Orta is indeed keen on a deal to bring the 21-year-old to Elland Road this summer.
However, Hay went on to suggest that the Whites’ sporting director is only likely to move for the Belgium international in the event that Raphinha departs LS11 ahead of the new season. The Athletic journalist also confirmed that PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo is another player on the Spaniard’s shortlist of summer targets.
Regarding Leeds’ interest in De Ketelaere and Gakpo, Hay said: “Yes, the interest in those wingers is genuine, but it will be dictated by Raphinha going. They’re not going to go and sign Gakpo or De Ketelaere unless Raphinha leaves, that’s my reading of this situation.”
Should Raphinha go on to seal a move away from Elland Road this summer – which looks increasingly likely – it is not difficult to understand why Orta would be interested in lining up the versatile De Ketelaere as the Brazil international’s replacement.
Indeed, over his 39 Jupiler Pro League appearances last season, the £27m-rated talent was in breathtaking form for Brugge. He scored 14 goals, registered nine assists and created 16 big chances for his team-mates, along with taking two shots, making 1.8 key passes and completing 1.4 dribbles per game.
These returns saw the player who James Marshment dubbed an “elite signing” and “the heir to Kevin De Bruyne” average a spectacular SofaScore match rating of 7.25. That ranked him not only as Alfred Schreuder’s fourth-best performer in the league but also the 13th-best player in the entire division.
The £17k-per-week attacking midfielder – who can also operate in central midfield, on either wing and at centre-forward – also impressed over his six Champions League games in 2021/22, providing one assist and creating one big chance, in addition to taking 1.5 shots, making 1.8 key passes and completing one dribble per match.
These returns saw the 21-year-old average a SofaScore match rating of 6.98, an impressive feat considering that Brugge were in the competition’s group of death alongside Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig.
As such, should Orta go on to seal a €30m (£26m) deal for De Ketelaere this summer, the Spaniard could well have unearthed the next £76.5m-rated De Bruyne at Leeds. That is sure to be an incredibly exciting prospect for both Jesse Marsch and Whites supporters alike.