Leeds United are closing in on a deal to bring Charles De Ketelaere to Elland Road this summer.
That’s according to a report by Sky Sport Italia, who claim that, following the news of AC Milan submitting a €20m (£17m) plus add-ons bid for the Club Brugge KV forward on Monday, Victor Orta is now preparing his own offer for the 21-year-old – believed to be in the region of €37m (£32m) plus add-ons.
Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio takes the claim one step further, suggesting that the Whites have gone as far as to submit an official bid to the Jupiler Pro League outfit – reported to be in excess of €30m (£26m) plus add-ons.
It is not every day a player comes along who is billed as being Kevin De Bruyne’s heir, but that is exactly the role De Ketelaere has been assigned by those who have closely followed his progression over the past few years.
And, when taking into account the attacking midfielder’s incredibly impressive versatility, his ability to do serious damage in the final third and his exceptional vision with the ball at his feet, it is not difficult to see why comparisons have been drawn between the Brugge starlet and the heartbeat of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side.
Indeed, De Ketelaere perfectly evidenced all three of these traits over his 39 Jupiler Pro League appearances in 2021/22, with the £27m-rated talent scoring 14 goals, providing nine assists and creating 16 big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 2.0 shots, making 1.8 key passes and completing 1.4 dribbles per fixture.
These returns saw the £17k-per-week forward – who was deployed in no less than seven different positions last season – average a quite breathtaking SofaScore match rating of 7.25, not only ranking him as Alfred Schreuder’s fourth-best player in the division but also as the 13th-best in the league as a whole.
Furthermore, despite being in a group with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and RB Leipzig, the player Jacek Kulig dubbed the “complete package” also caught the eye over his six Champions League fixtures last time out, registering one assist and creating one big chance, as well as taking an average of 1.5 shots, making 1.8 key passes and completing 1.0 dribble per outing.
These metrics saw the 21-year-old average an extremely admirable SofaScore match rating of 6.98, ranking him as Brugge’s second-best performer in Europe’s most prestigious club competition – a quite remarkable feat considering the Belgian side finishing rock bottom of the group of death.
As such, it would indeed appear as if De Ketelaere would be an “elite signing” – in the words of James Marshment – for Orta to get over the line this summer, leading us to believe that the latest updates on the Whites’ pursuit of the Belgian sensation is sure to have left the Elland Road faithful buzzing.