According to TeamTalk, Leeds United remain hot in their pursuit of summer target Charles De Ketelaere and have been in contact with his new parent club AC Milan to register their interest in bringing the struggling Belgian talent to Elland Road, even if on a temporary loan deal.
It’s safe to say Milan’s marquee summer addition has yet to justify the €36 million transfer price that the reigning Serie A champions splashed to secure his services from Club Brugge.
Expectations were high after he delivered 14 goals and nine assists in his final year in the Belgian top flight, as well as a string of bright and confident displays in the Champions League that had so many clubs chasing after his signature this past summer.
However, he is yet to make such an impact in Milan, contributing just a single assist in his 13 Serie A appearances before heading into the World Cup break, and he seems to have fallen behind Brahim Diaz in the pecking order under boss Stefano Pioli for the time being.
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While it’s still very early in the midfielder’s Milan career, Pioli has made it clear that he expects more from the Belgian, who has lacked confidence in his performances.
As such, several top clubs, including Newcastle United, are ready to offer the player an exit route in the January transfer window and have inquired about whether Milan wants to earn a quick buck for their prized asset.
Leeds United, who were strongly mentioned as a potential destination for De Ketelaere during the summer window, have also asked AC Milan to keep them updated on the Italian giants’ stance on the playmaker’s future following his sluggish start to life in Serie A.
While Jesse Marsch’s side does need a striker owing to Patrick Bamford’s persistent injury problems in recent times, there is little chance of Leeds pulling off such a coup.
De Ketelaere first and foremost only desires to play for the illustrious teams in Europe’s premier club competition. While Leeds’ young team has done well to bounce back from a tough start to the season, they remain firmly in a relegation scrap. Consequently, the Belgian sensation wouldn’t want to sign for the Peacocks.
Secondly, there would be no point in the Rossoneri letting De Ketelaere go as they are competing on multiple fronts in an already congested season due to the winter World Cup, while reports suggesting Chelsea are readying a hefty pay-check for Rafael Leao are likely to intensify in January.
If the 21-year-old’s struggles continue, Leeds may try their luck with a loan approach in January. However, switching to another country and club wouldn’t do the player any favours in terms of settling in and focusing on his football. Should he leave on a permanent basis, he could end up leaving for another club on an upward trajectory. However, it is highly unlikely that this will be Leeds.
The player is currently with the Belgian national team on international duty, and Milan fans will be hoping that he does well for the Red Devils on the international stage, and returns re-energised for the second half of the season.